Shallot, Pumpkin and Red Pepper Soup
- 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 candied shallots
- 250g unsalted butter
- ¼ tsp of cumin seeds
- 8 shallots, (approx 250g) 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
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.
2. 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.
3. 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 five to 10 minutes without browning.
4. 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 five minutes.
5. 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 then one minute, stirring the shallot mixture all the time to prevent burning.
6. Fry until caramelised for approx. One to two minutes. Remove from the heat and season with sea salt and stir in the honey.
7. 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.
8. Place a spoonful of low fat crème fraîche in each and sprinkle with the chives, toasted pumpkin seeds and candied shallots.