Pumpkin soup for a shopaholic

November 26th, 2009 § 0 comments

Not only am I a food addict, I am a shopaholic as well. Yet, it seems that I have more and more trouble to handle the crowds of the cold and rainy winter saturdays, when the city fillls up with people rushing around in all directions to get the best deals of the beginning sale period and the ideal Sinterklaas of Christmas presents a bit like a flooded river.

Do you even think that it will keep me away from shopping… Drop that thought immediately! I want my share of winter shopping too, the bite of the cold, the christmas lights in the streets, and this cute pair of Paul Smith pumps and this fab Red Valentino dress I’ve been drooling around for a couple of months patiently awaiting for the sales. Even if that means I’ll have to drown into the crowd. And most of the times it happens. Suddenly my own futility turns me into an exhausted ball in a flipper game. It’s time to escape the shopping streets just before drowning and take refuge at Lapsang, this cosy and friendly little tearoom in the side streets of the Hague, where a fuming bowl of pumpkin soup awaits me together with fresh Desem bread, creamy butter and a fragrant cup of tea.

Yet another pumpkin soup

Last week, while I was stuck in bed with the flu, shopping was the last of my wishes. Yet, I couldn’t help but dreaming for a marmite of Lapsangs’ pumpkin soup. So, as soon as I gathered enough strength, I improvised my own version of it…

Pumpkin soup ‘façon Lapsang’
Soupe de potiron, façon Lapsang

serves 8 pers.
prep: 15 min. cook: 25 +15 min

1 small pumpkin (~800 g), quartered and seeds removed,
1 winter carrot (~200 g),
1 shallot,
2 cloves of garlic,
1 cooking apple, peeled, in cubes seasoned with lemon juice
1 l vegetable stock,
2 sprigs of rosemary,
1 sprig of thyme,
6 cardamom pods, slightly crushed,
1 knob of butter, 1 Tsp olive oil,
sea salt, freshly ground pepper and chili pepper to taste

Preheat the oven at 200 deg C. Lay the pumpkin quarters, the carrot, shallot, and cloves on a baking tray covered with baking paper.
Put in the oven. Grill the shallot and garlic cloves for about 15 minutes and leave the pumpkin and carrot for 5 to 10 extra minutes until they are tender and nicely colored.

In the mean time, warm up the stock on low heat adding the cardamom pods, one sprig of rosemary and one sprig of thyme for them to infuse.

Peel the grilled carrot, shallot and garlic clove. I like to keep the skin of the pumpkin to give a little nutty taste, but it might actually be handier to take it out if you are not planning to use a food processor to mix the soup at the end (I leave the choice to you). Cut all the grilled vegetables into chunks.

In a large soup pan, melt the knob of butter and olive oil on medium heat, sear the apple cubes a couple of minutes with the rest of the rosemary before adding the grilled vegetables. Season to taste with sea salt, pepper and chili pepper, toss, and then pour the stock (you might skip the salt if your stock is already seasoned). Simmer covered for 10 minutes on low heat.

Set aside to cool a little. Mix the soup preferably with an old fashioned food mill or a dutch stamper to give it a rough structure that will be perfect for warming you up after a walk in the woods or a winter shopping expedition, or use a food processor (advised if you didn’t peel the pumpkin) for a sleek finish.

Serve fuming hot, with large slices of fresh desem bread and butter on the side.

Bon appétit!

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