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Operation Jam Jar is all about getting back to basics in the kitchen.

Check out my efforts at cooking from scratch - cakes, soups, biscuits

Learn how to make things that you would normally buy at the supermarket - wraps, ice cream, pizza bases

Try to live a more 'country' lifestyle in the city - making your own jams or relish

Get the skills to enjoy cooking in a thrifty way, and have a bit of fun while you do it

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Roast Everything Soup


When the weather starts to cool down there’s nothing like a steaming bowl of deliciousness for dinner.  So why not try to get your 2&5 a day (well, OK just the 5) with a hearty wintery soup.  

This week I was sashaying around Coles trying to fill in time before a meeting (does anyone else window shop at the supermarket?) when I saw whole butternut pumpkins for 88c a kilo.  I grabbed one of those and a whole bulb of garlic and, knowing I had onions at home, decided to make soup for dinner.

You can use any vegetables for this recipe, but the beauty of it lies in the simple cooking process.  Chop everything up, slather in oil and seasonings, roast for an hour, smoosh it up, add some stock, and you’re good to go.  Soup is also a great option for a packed lunch, or for freezing for a night when you don’t feel like cooking.   Try anything that you enjoy roasted – roast parsnip is the next soup in my sights, as well as red capsicum & tomato.

Ingredients

1 whole medium pumpkin, any variety, skin on, seeds removed
2 onions
1 bulb garlic
Olive oil, for roasting
1L chicken stock
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ground sage
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line two trays with baking paper.

Chop the pumpkin as you would for a roast, in medium size pieces, and place across two roasting trays.  Peel the onions and chop into quarters, add to the trays.  Remove some of the excess skin from the garlic, divide into individual cloves and spread over the two trays.     

Cover liberally with olive oil, and sprinkle over the spices and seasoning.  If you don’t have any of the spices don’t worry, it will taste great even just with salt and pepper.  Move the vegetables around the trays so that they are covered with oil on both sides.

Place in the oven and roast, turning half way through, for around an hour.  You will know when the vegetables are ready as they will be golden, and soft when poked with a fork. 
Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly until you can handle the garlic.  Squeeze out the sweet centres of the garlic and discard the garlic skins. 

Place the vegetables into a large pot, squash everything with a wooden spoon, and add your stock.   Use a stick mixer or a regular blender to puree the soup – yes including the softened pumpkin skin (it’s good for you, and delicious, I promise).  You may need to add more stock depending on the consistency that you like.

Bring to the boil on the stove and then turn down the heat – you just want to bring it up to the right temperature for eating.  Keep stirring it as you need to be wary of air bubbles forming.  I found this out from experience when one after the other exploded onto my face, my hair, the walls, the floor, my jumper and even my back as I tried to flee the scene.  But don’t worry, even if this happens there will still be plenty left in the pot.

Place into bowls or mugs to serve.  If you’re feeling a little indulgent you could add a splash of cream, sour cream or natural yoghurt.  I enjoyed it straight up, and I’m sure you will too.  

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