How to make the perfect pumpkin soup

Roast pumpkin soup with chickpeas and merguez sausage.
Roast pumpkin soup with chickpeas and merguez sausage. Photo: William Meppem

Roast pumpkin soup with chickpeas

Warm, velvety and simple to make, pumpkin soup is your cold-weather friend. And by adding chickpeas and merguez sausages, you turn soup into dinner.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1.2kg butternut pumpkin
  • 1 onion, unpeeled, halved
  • 1 tomato, halved
  • 4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 fresh merguez or chorizo sausages
  • 1 fresh red chilli
  • 1 400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 750ml vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp rose harissa, plus extra to serve
  • ½ cup parsley or coriander sprigs

METHOD

  1. Heat oven to 180C fan-forced (200C conventional). Roughly chop the pumpkin (no need to peel), and arrange with onion, tomato and garlic on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
  2. Coat the vegetables with 2 tbsp olive oil, scatter with sea salt and black pepper, and bake for 45-55 minutes, removing the tomato and garlic, and turning the pumpkin after 30 minutes. Transfer vegetables to a chopping board until cool enough to handle.
  3. Toss the sausages, chilli and 2 tbsp of the chickpeas in remaining olive oil and bake for 20 minutes (use the same tray to save on dishes).
  4. In the meantime, squeeze the garlic cloves out of the skins, and discard onion skins and pumpkin skins and seeds. Roughly chop the vegetables, and tip into a large saucepan.
  5. Add vegetable stock, tomato paste, harissa, remaining chickpeas, sea salt and pepper, and bring to the boil. Simmer, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes.
  6. Blend the soup in batches in a food processor or blender until smooth and velvety, and serve in warm bowls. Slice the sausages and finely slice the chilli. Arrange sausages and chilli on top with crisped chickpeas, extra harissa and herbs.

Serves 4

Need to know

  • Butternut pumpkin is perfect for this recipe, or mix it up with Japanese pumpkin. Bake with the skin on, then peel later.
  • When you cook pumpkin in water, the liquid dilutes the flavour. When you cook pumpkin in the oven, you reduce the water content, intensifying the natural flavour.
  • Swap out spicy merguez or chorizo sausages for frankfurts, kofta, pan-roasted mushrooms or grilled eggplant.
  • To make a vegetable broth, peel and roughly chop 3 onions and 3 carrots. Toss into a large pot with 3 chopped celery stalks and 3 parsley stems. Cover with 2 litres of cold water, bring to the boil, simmer uncovered for 1 hour and then strain. 
  • For instant vegetable stock, Marigold Swiss Vegetable Bouillon powder has a good, clean flavour and contains no artificial preservatives, colouring or flavouring.
  • Turn chickpeas into crisp, nutty snacks by tossing in olive oil, sea salt and paprika and roasting for 15 minutes. Scatter over fried eggs. 
  • Blend hot soup in batches (or cool it first). If a blender is too full, the pressure can cause the soup to explode out the top.
  • 13 pumpkin soup recipes (plus one perfect bread to go with them)

Each month, food writer and cook Jill guides us through the making of a classic dish.