Creamy, curried pumpkin soup will keep out the autumn chills. My Curried Pumpkin Soup is heartily spiced, and the roasted garlic flavoured millet is the perfect compliment. This meal is healthy, hearty, easy to prepare, and the perfect way to warm up at the start of the season.
The first pot of pumpkin soup in autumn is a precious celebration in anticipation of what the season will bring. Autumn is the season of true bounty. We get the best of the final blush of summer – the ripest stone fruits, the sweetest final watermelon harvest, the juiciest tomatoes begging to be made into passata; and we also get the first harvest of the hardy fruits and vegetables that will see us through the cold winter months – creamy sweet potatoes, the crunchiest apples, sweet heavy grapes, and pretty smooth-skinned butternut pumpkins.
My Mum has made a version of this curried pumpkin soup since I was a child. Coming home from school on rainy winter days to a pot of gently bubbling soup and thickly buttered bread was a childhood delight, and something that still warms me down to my soul as an adult. Soup is pure comfort. And making soup from my Mum’s recipe is an extra layer of warmth. I know this soup is going to appear on our table frequently throughout the coming season. I have been coming home to leftovers of this soup since I made a big pot on the weekend. When I walk through the door, I know I am coming home to a bowl of comfort.
Mum uses a curry powder mix, but when I ran out and was at home on a rainy Sunday craving this soup, I didn’t want to venture to the shops so I broke the mixture down to its essence and put my own twist on a family tradition. My soup is a little spicier than Mum’s owing to my inclusion of chili powder. If you don’t want the soup too spicy or you are serving it to little kids, you can leave out the chili powder and I can promise you the soup will still be just as flavoursome. The chili powder is joined by ground dried coriander, turmeric, cumin, garlic, and black pepper for a fragrant bouquet of flavours. Along with your spices, butternut pumpkin, carrots, and onion, and a good quality vegetable stock are all you need to create this soup for dinner tonight. The millet is a filling addition, and the roasted garlic and thyme add a soothing element to the spicy soup. If you don’t have or like millet you could use quinoa or rice to the same effect.
Get ready to snuggle up with your beloved and a bowl of soup, and rest happily in the comfort that these bowls are full of thoroughly nourishing ingredients that will keep you healthy all winter long. This soup is creamy, but there is no cream required: butternut pumpkins bring their own special creaminess when simmer low and slow. Millet, as we’ve spoken about before is a buttery ancient seed that provides good amounts of iron and other minerals. This soup is the healthy comfort food answer to lengthening autumn nights, long runs in the drizzle, and a craving for comfort.
Curried Pumpkin Soup with Garlic-Thyme Millet
Gluten Free | Vegan | Serves 4 generously | Leftovers will keep in an airtight container for up to three days.
Reheat gently over a low heat, or in the microwave in short bursts
For the soup
- 1 kg (2 pounds) butternut pumpkin
- 2 medium brown onions
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 sticks celery
- 1 medium carrot
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 2 teaspoons dried coriander
- 3 teaspoons dried ground cumin seeds
- 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4-1/4 teaspoon chili powder (optional)
- 4 cups reduced salt vegetable stock
For the millet
- 1/2 head of garlic
- 3/4 cup dried millet
- 1 1/2 cups reduced sodium vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- Peel and de-seed pumpkin and chop into cubes (about 2.5cm/1 inch). Peel and dice onion. Dice celery and carrot.
- Heat olive oil in a large saucepan or stock pot over a medium heat. Add crushed garlic, onion, celery, carrot, turmeric, coriander, cumin, black powder, and chili powder. Saute until the onions are become clear and the spices are fragrant.
- Tumble in your pumpkin cubes and stir until everything is well mixed.
- Add vegetable stock and bring soup to the boil.
- Reduce to a simmer and cook until pumpkin is very soft and is disintegrating in the stock. This will take about an hour.
- While the pumpkin is cooking preheat your oven to 180C. Wrap garlic in aluminium foil and bake for 40-45 minutes or until cloves are softened. Allow to cool.
- Rinse millet and place in medium saucepan along with vegetable stock. Bring to the boil over a medium-high heat. As soon as it starts to boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cover the saucepan with a lid. Allow to cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, stand for 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork. Keep covered until ready to serve.
- Once soup is cooked, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Use a stick blender to blend until smooth. Alternately you can puree this soup in a blender. WARNING: ALLOW SOUP TO COOL COMPLETELY BEFORE BLENDING. DO NOT BLEND HOT SOUP. Reheat over a low heat on the stove top.
- Mash roasted garlic together with fresh thyme and olive oil. Mix through millet.
- Ladle soup into bowls and top with spoonfuls of millet and extra fresh thyme if desired.