During the dreary Scottish winter, my family looks forward to Pumpkin and Pepper Soup. seeded Soda Bread, which is quick to make, as it doesn’t require kneading or time to rise and you have a delicious warming dinner that can brighten even the bleakest winters night.
I like to make my pumpkin soup with a puree of roasted red pepper to add extra flavour, topped with some type of crunchy garnish, pumpkin seeds are the obvious choice.
Many soda bread recipes have a dairy base, but I use my favourite combo of oat milk and lemon to replace buttermilk. You could play around with the proportions and types of flours, but I find that too much rye or wholemeal makes it very dense. I like to add seeds for flavour and texture.
- 300g strong white flour – preferably stone-ground
- 200g rye or wholemeal flour
- ½ cup sunflower or pumpkin seeds and a sprinkle for decoration
- 340 ml oat milk
- 60 ml lemon juice
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
Mix your choice of flours and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl. Add the salt and seeds, you can use either sunflower or pumpkin seeds, or a combination of both, mix them in.
Make a well in the flour and pour in your oat milk and lemon juice.
Mix up with your hand until it all comes together nicely – it should be soft, but not too wet, do not knead it.
Turn out on to a clean dry surface and bring together into a round loaf, slash the top.
Brush surface with oat milk, slash the surface, then sprinkle with seeds.
Bake @ 220ºC for 10 minutes, then @ 180ºC for 30 minutes.
Pumpkin and Pepper Soup
- 2 red onion, finely chopped
- 2-3 stems of celery, finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp oil (optional)
- 1Tbsp tomato puree
- 1/4 cup white wine or vermouth
- 1 medium pumpkin
- 4 Roasted red peppers
- 1.5 – 2 litres of vegetable stock
Prepare your pumpkin, peel and cut into pieces, or shred/scrape the flesh away from the skin if you want to use the pumpkin for serving or for carving at Halloween.
In a heavy-based pot that is large enough to hold your soup, add oil and sauté the red onion and celery until they are soft and lightly coloured. Stir in the tomato puree, let it caramelise a little when it is sticking to the bottom of your pot pour in the wine and deglaze your pot, stir/scrape the caramelised tomato paste and mix with the wine.
You can roast your pumpkin first or add them straight into the onion and celery mix, then pour just enough stock to cover, put on a lid and simmer until the pumpkin is cooked enough to make a puree.
Blend your soup mix and roasted red peppers together, a stick blender is easiest, but any blender or food processor will do. Add more stock if needed to make it smooth. Depending on how big your pumpkin was and how thick you like your soup, add more vegetable stock. Season to taste.
To make a simple soup seem more of a dinner party dish, I occasionally serve it in a hollowed pumpkin, top with crispy kale nests, parsnip crisps and toasted pumpkin seeds.
Chef’s tip: If you find it difficult to cut up your pumpkin, poke some holes into the pumpkin with a sharp knife, it is usually easiest around the stem. Put it into a warm oven and let it heat up until it softens enough to cut easily. A microwave will work too.