Think of French cuisine, and you probably imagine complicated recipes requiring lots of cheffy skills and hard-to-procure ingredient, rights? But it doesn’t have to be that way! Ms Rachel Khoo‘s fantastic new book My Little French Kitchen features simple, accessible recipes from around France, broken down into easy-to-follow steps and accompanied by some seriously lip-smacking images. We’re delighted to share one of our favourite expatriate’s culinary gems with you – delicious pumpkin soup with chantilly and onion confit. The recipe serves four, but you might want to make extra…

pumpkin soup

Onion soup is pretty much a staple on every French alpine menu. But, listed just underneath, a pumpkin soup sneaks in more often than not and I was fortunate enough to be served an exemplary version at the little bed and breakfast I stayed at in the Savoie region after a long day on the slopes. Unlike the dark, golden brown-hued onion soup, its pumpkin counterpart is altogether different; a vivacious bright orange it looks a little out of place between the drabber winter fare which is commonplace in the Alps.

Roasting the pumpkin might sound like a bit of a pain (you could just as easily bung everything into a pan with vegetable stock) but it’s well worth it. The pumpkin takes on a rich sweetness with roasting that simply doesn’t compare to being boiled in a pot of stock. The soup is pretty delicious on its own but, to add a little Alpine flavour, I top it all off with some fluffy edible snow (well, almost!). A little whipped cream with some caramelized onions and crunchy seeds and you have a vibrant and colourful soup to take on those dark winter days.

Ingredients

  • 1kg chestnut pumpkin, pumpkin or
    butternut squash, chopped into
    large pieces
  • 4 cloves of garlic, left whole in the skin
  • 4 tablespoons pumpkin seeds (or use
    the seeds from the pumpkin)
  • 1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 litre hot vegetable stock
  • 100ml whipping cream
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • olive oil

Directions

Place the pumpkin, garlic cloves and some of the pumpkin seeds on a baking tray, toss with olive oil and a pinch of salt. Roast for 30 minutes at 180°C, or until tender. Leave to cool before scooping the flesh from the pumpkin pieces into a pot. Squeeze out the garlic from the skin and add to the pot. Clean the seeds of any strands of pumpkin and add to a separate pan with the onion and butter. Place on a medium heat and fry for about 10 minutes until the onion begins to caramelize. Stir occasionally.

pumpkins

Meanwhile, finish the soup by adding the hot vegetable stock to the pumpkin and garlic. Blend until smooth then taste and season. Whip the cream with a pinch of salt and plenty of black pepper, to taste. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and divide the caramelized onions and pumpkin seeds between the bowls. Add a dollop of the whipped cream to finish.