A spicy, warming pumpkin soup with the added health benefits of leeks and ginger, made in only 35 minutes. Serve with fried sage leaves for a festive touch and mini curry macarons just adds that bit of delicious fun!
What are the Health Benefits of Eating Leeks?
It gets pretty cold mid-Autumn around Paris and so when I heard a French doctor on TF1 radio tell us how best to stay healthy and keep colds at bay, it was music to my cold little ears.
Moreover, his tip was also useful for those of us who perhaps over-indulge in rich, festive foods. His suggestion? Eat plenty of leeks. Apparently they help to clean out the gut. Trust the French to sound so poetic. So, as soon as it gets cold, I load up on fresh leeks (poireaux) at the market.
Spicy Pumpkin Soup for Rosy Cheeks
So, are you ready for a tasty clean-out? Then this is the ideal soup to precede and follow the Christmas – New Year extravaganza meals. The hardest part of making this soup is cutting up the pumpkin, but it’s worth the effort since it’s full of iron, zinc, fibre and carotene (see more on the market pumpkin page). Carotene is what we all need at this time of year to bring the glow back to our cheeks.
I normally use regular pumpkin (bought in slices) from the market for this soup but, as you can see from the photo above, it’s also great with red kuri squash, known as potimarron (Japanese chestnut pumpkin) in France. The beauty of using this is that the skin is edible. If using, however, I’d recommend roasting the whole pumpkin in the oven for 20 minutes first, to make it easier to cut into chunks.
The added ginger gives a great spicy kick-start to bringing us back on top form, as it’s great for digestion, keeping colds at bay and – oh-là là – virility.
Pumpkin Soup Garnish
If you’re not following a vegetarian or vegan diet, to garnish you could swirl in some naughty cream and sprinkle on smoked crispy bacon.
To keep this a vegan recipe, however, for a festive look add some herbs (parsley, coriander or sage leaves) to look like holly and add a couple of fresh cranberries or pink peppercorns. Although ATTENTION! Pink Peppercorns should be strictly avoided if you suffer from nut allergies. Read more about why pink peppercorns should be avoided if you’re allergic to nuts from my friend, Christina Conte.
Take Pumpkin Soup to the Next Level: Garnish with Macarons
What? Macarons with soup? Intrigued faces are guaranteed at the table! I love taking guests by surprise with savoury macarons as a mini pre-starter or Amuse-bouche. Serve with a couple of mini curry tikka mac’sala macarons (See page 100 of my book, Mad About Macarons) The flavours together are a delicious adventure.
Keep it Healthy
For a naturally creamy touch without adding any cream, toss in a few pre-cooked chestnuts in with the stock and the result is extra thick with a wonderful taste of Autumn.
Leek, Pumpkin & Ginger Soup
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 medium leeks sliced
- 900 g (2lb) pumpkin peeled & chopped*
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger root grated (or 1 tsp ground ginger)
- 850 ml (1.5 pints) vegetable stock
- good pinch freshly grated nutmeg
- salt & pepper to taste
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot then soften the leeks and pumpkin together. Sweat gently for about 5 minutes, adding the ginger and sweat a couple of minutes more.
- Add the stock (just enough to cover the vegetables), cover and simmer for about 25 minutes.
- Blend with a hand mixer, add the nutmeg and season with fleur de sel salt and a few grinds of the peppermill to taste.
Also delicious with mini curry macarons (recipe in my book, Mad About Macarons).
This post was originally published 4 January 2012 but has been completely re-written with new images and a printable recipe card.