December 17th, 2010

Iron Bark Pumpkin and Chestnut Soup

The snow has arrived! The British Larder is covered in a blanket of snow and it feels as if the whole world came to a stand still. The very busy A1152 which is a 60 mile per hour road has ground to a halt!

With more snow on its way we are trying to be positive. Snow means that the British Larder is quiet, but as the saying goes, it’s onwards and upwards. So we are making the most of the quiet time by scraping the car park and clearing up the snow so that our customers can park and still visit, stoking the roaring wood burning fire, and finally, cooking up a storm in the kitchen.

This Iron Bark Pumpkin and Chestnut Soup is the perfect remedy for frosty hands and rosy cold cheeks.

David the Village Veg man brought these Iron Bark Pumpkins during November and the beginning of December, and we have been saving them to ripen.

Well we must have had the feeling that they would come in handy when it gets really cold. Pumpkins and most squashes are good for storing, as when stored, they become riper and ultimately sweeter in taste. We try to use the whole pumpkin including the seeds and skin if it’s thin and tender enough, but if it’s a bit tough it usually requires peeling. The seeds make a lovely crisp and nutritious garnish.

The chestnuts came from the nearby Rendelsham Forest. We picked them up from the forest floor, roasted and peeled them and the fresh nuts were frozen for a rainy …well… snowy day!

Iron Bark and Pumpkin Soup

  • 1kg ripe Iron Bark Pumpkin, peeled weight, diced, seeds removed
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 1tbs ras-el-hanout (optional)
  • 200ml dry white wine
  • 1.2L white chicken or vegetable stock
  • Maldon sea salt and freshly grounded black pepper
  • 80g Parmesan Cheese, grated
  • 100g fresh chestnuts, roasted and peeled

Heat a large saucepan and melt the butter. Add the diced pumpkin to the melted butter with the ras-el-hanout and a small amount of salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Cook until the pumpkin starts to soften; this should take about 5 minutes. As soon as the pumpkin starts to colour, deglaze the pan with the wine, cook until the wine is absorbed by the pumpkin, add the stock, bring to the boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the soup for 20 minutes.

Add the cheese and half of the chestnuts to the soup and cook for a further 10 minutes.

Blend the soup until very smooth. Pass the soup through a sieve, taste the soup and adjust the seasoning and thickness if needed.

Candied Pumpkin Seeds

  • Seeds from the pumpkin
  • 1tsp ras-el-hanout
  • ½ tsp sumac
  • 1tbs olive oil
  • Maldon Sea Salt
  • 1tbs dark brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Wash the pumpkin seeds and remove as much of the pumpkin membrane as possible. Mix the seeds with the rest of the ingredients, season with salt and spread onto a baking tray. Roast the seeds in the oven, starting with 5 minutes, stir and continue with nominations of 5 minutes until the seeds are golden. Let the seeds cool completely - once cold they will crisp.

To Serve

Serve the boiling hot soup with a few drops of pumpkin oil, the candied pumpkin seeds, a sprinkle of sumac and use a micro plane to grate the remaining roasted chestnuts over the soup.

Serves 6 - 8

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6 Comments to “Iron Bark Pumpkin and Chestnut Soup”

  1. Kimberley says:

    I’m so enamored with your blog – the stories, the impeccable images, and the superb recipes. Makes me wish you were a little closer!

  2. Hendrik says:

    It’s amazing that even though you’re running a restaurant, you update the blog so much. Very impressive and much appreciated, I love reading this blog!

    As I don’t think the Iron bark pumpkin is widely available over here, I was wondering if I can just use any other pumpkin instead for this recipe?

  3. Madalene says:

    Hi Hendrik,
    You could use any variety of pumpkin or squash. My advise is to ensure that it’s ripe, the riper the sweeter and better tasting your soup.

    Happy Cooking,

  4. Janie says:

    Hi Maddy and Ross,

    This looks fantastic and I’ll use my last big garden pumpkin to make it today for lunch! Thank you as always for your lovely recipes and beautiful photography. Happy Christmas!

  5. Always my favourite soup!

    I hope the snow disappears a little so I can get there on the 29th.

    I’ve waited ages to try your lovely-looking food, and I’m taking advantage of being at my mother-in-law’s, near Saxmundham, to get over and experience the BL for myself!

    We never had time when we had the restaurant, so this is a lovely treat before we get back into the catering game once more.

  6. gloria says:

    I love this site and the recipes! yummy! gloria

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