The best thing about this pumpkin beetroot soup is the thyme. So if you haven’t got any growing in your garden, then raid the neighbours or search in your local greengrocer or plant nursery. Because it is fabulous. The aroma of thyme floating through the house while this is cooking is wonderful, and it absolutely makes the flavour of this soup.
The easiest way, and the tastiest, is to roast your vegetables first.
Roast half a pumpkin cut in half again.
Roast 2 large or 3 – 4 small beetroots
You can roast the beetroots with their skins on – just give them a scrub. It’s easy to peel them when they’ve just cooled. (The beetroot takes a bit longer than the pumpkin, so cut it into smaller pieces than the pumpkin. Roast them for about ½ hour to 40 minutes. It’s not the end of the world if some bits are not quite cooked, as they will finish cooking in the soup).
Once the vegetables are cooked and cooled (you can do this the day before if you want and store them in the fridge), peel and chop the flesh.
You need about half as much beetroot flesh as pumpkin, but I’m not very particular about quantities.
Fry an onion (or a leek – I prefer leek, but then I’m a bit fussy!) and a clove of chopped garlic in some olive oil. When it’s nice and soft, add a handful of thyme leaves.
Add the pumpkin and beetroot flesh.
Add a vegetable stock cube. (Yes, I was really lazy when I made this, and didn’t use proper stock – slapped wrists!)
Cover with boiling water from the kettle.
Bring to the boil and simmer for about 45 minutes.
Add a dessert spoon of balsamic vinegar and stir through.
Allow to cool a little, then blend with a hand mixer til smooth.
Serve with a dollop of yoghurt and some more thyme leaves.
This is far, far better than I expected. The thyme and the balsamic vinegar give the soup a depth of flavour I couldn’t have imagined. This is dinner party standard stuff.
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