Pumpkin soup with garlic croutons
A simple winter soup bursting with flavor.
Sometimes a woman knows she’s going to be too busy to cook the next day. Sometimes she’s going to be making wine instead. I know that once I start working on wine, it’ll take too much time and concentration for me to think of what to make for lunch. So last night I made pumpkin soup and prepared the croutons to heat up again at lunchtime today. With an omelet and a salad, lunch is on the table in 15 minutes.
Savory garlic croutons complement the slight sweetness of pumpkin and corn, and release their buttery flavor into the soup as you spoon it up. If you decide not to make croutons, swirl a tablespoon of butter into the soup just before serving, for creaminess.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound pumpkin
- 1 medium potato
- 1 ear of corn
- 1 medium tomato
- 1 onion
- 1 leek
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 cups water
- 1/4 cup cilantro or parsley
- Salt and white pepper to taste
- 1 1/2 cup dice of fresh, or day-old bread
- 1 clove of garlic, chopped
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- A pinch of black pepper
- A pinch of thyme
For the soup
For the garlic croutons
Chop the onions.
Cover the bottom of a large saucepan with the oil. Turn on a low flame. Add the onions and bay leaf.
While the onions are starting to cook, peel and chop the potatoes, clean the leek and chop it, peel the pumpkin and chop it.
When the onions in the pan are soft and starting to turn golden, add the potatoes, leek and pumpkin cubes. Bring the flame up to medium. Stir.
Cut the kernels off the ear of corn. Chop the tomatoes. Add these to the pot.
Cover the pot and cook the vegetables for 20 minutes They will release some of their juice, but lower the flame if necessary to keep them from scorching.
When the vegetables are soft, add the water and stir. Cook 1/2 hour on a low flame.
Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the chopped cilantro or parsley.
Cook another 5 minutes.
Now you can either serve the soup in its clear native state, with all the chunks of vegetables or blend it. Blended is the only way I can get my daughter to eat pumpkin, so that’s what I do.
Note: You can add as much black pepper as you like, but refrain from adding more thyme, which is a strong aromatic. It can dominate and mask the delicate flavor of the soup.
To make the croutons:
In a frying pan, melt the butter together with the olive oil. Add the garlic and allow it to infuse in the butter/oil mixture, over the lowest possible flame, for 15 minutes. Watch the pan. If the garlic looks like it’s going to burn, the flame has been too high – remove the pan from the heat. If you can’t make a lower flame, just heat the garlic through for a few minutes, but the flavor will be much lighter.
Add the salt and pepper and thyme. Stir.
Have the diced bread in a bowl. Dribble the garlic butter over and along the sides of the pile of bread dice, mixing gently with a wooden spoon. Bake the coated croutons in a hot oven for 20 minutes, turning them over twice.