Pumpkin and Red Pepper Soup with Crispy Shallots and Pumpkin Seeds

With Halloween around the corner, and pumpkins plentiful in the shops, this soup is a perfect autumnal warmer.  Serve with a big dollop of low-fat crème Fraiche and some warm crusty bread and make the most of the fruits of the season!

Serves 4

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 35 minutes

You’ll need:

For the soup:

4 red peppers, deseeded and cut into quarters

30g butter

1 tbsp rapeseed oil

6 shallots, diced peeled

750g pumpkin, peeled and diced into 2 cm pieces

1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

Leaves of one sprig of thyme

1.2 litre good vegetable stock

100ml double cream (optional)

Sea salt and black pepper

For the crispy shallots:

250g unsalted butter

¼ tsp of cumin seeds

8 (250g) shallots, peeled and sliced

¼ tsp ground cumin

¼ tsp paprika

1 tsp honey

To serve:

2 tsp chives, finely chopped

30g pumpkin seeds, toasted

120ml low-fat crème Fraiche

What to do:

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.

To make the soup:

Place the peppers skin side up, on a baking sheet and roast in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until the skins are charred. Remove from the oven and place in a bowl. Cover with cling film and leave to cool. Once cool, peel off the skins, and reserve the flesh.

Meanwhile, melt the butter with oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan. Add the shallots, pumpkin and red chilli, season with sea salt and black pepper and sweat the vegetables for 5-10 minutes without browning. Add the garlic and thyme and cook on a low heat for a further minute. Pour in the vegetable stock, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Add in the red peppers and cook for a further 5 minutes.

For the candied shallots:

Melt the butter in a small pan over a medium heat, add the cumin seeds and shallots and fry until soft. Add the ground cumin and paprika and cook the shallots for a further 1 minute, stirring the shallot mixture all the time to prevent burning. Fry until caramelised for approx. 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat and season with sea salt and stir in the honey.

To finish and serve:

Blend the soup in a food processor or with a hand blender and adjust the seasoning to taste. Return to the pan, if a little thick add more stock and if you wish, stir in the cream. Gently reheat the soup and ladle into warmed bowls. Place a spoonful of low-fat crème Fraiche in each and sprinkle with the chives, toasted pumpkin seeds and candied shallots.

Recipe by:

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Mother of three grown-up daughters I am the ultimate multi-tasker and am passionate about my role as Silversurfers Website Editor and Social Media Manager. Always on the lookout for all things that will interest and entertain our community. Fueling fun for the young at heart!

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