Serves 4-6

By Mark Hix

Every year we see more and more varieties of pumpkin and squash in the shops, and they make such delicious, hearty soups. This is a nice chunky fireside soup that's almost a stew, with a little bit of its own heat. Cooking chorizo is best for this, not the slicing variety which is drier and hence tougher when cooked.

1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
1tsp fresh thyme leaves
120g cooking chorizo, cut into 1cm chunks, or slices
2tbsp olive oil
1tbsp flour
1.5 litres hot vegetable or chicken stock
500-600g peeled weight of firm fleshed pumpkin, or squash, cut into 11/2-2cm chunks
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1tbsp chopped parsley

Gently cook the onion, garlic, thyme and chorizo in the olive oil in a covered pan for 3-4 minutes, stirring every so often, without colouring. Add the flour and mix well then slowly stir in the hot vegetable stock, a little at a time to avoid lumps forming. Season and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the pumpkin and continue cooking for 15 minutes or so.

Blend a ladleful of the soup, including bits of pumpkin and chorizo, in a blender until smooth then return to the pan with the parsley. Simmer for a few more minutes and serve.

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