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Soup is the epitome of winter comfort food. Quick and easy to make, delicious and nutritious, and versatile…there is always something in the fridge and pantry that can be turned into a flavoursome, soul warming comfort food. While the beauty of soup is the ability to use leftovers and items in the refrigerator and pantry that may otherwise spoil, when you are setting out to make a memorable dish, head to the supermarket and purchase fresh ingredients.

Soup makes a wonderful addition to any meal, or can be a meal in itself with some fresh crusty bread or toast. Once you have made it once or twice, you’ll realise it isn’t really that hard to make. So what are you waiting for?

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Last weekend, with the recent onset of cooler weather, and only half an hour before the arrival of self-invited lunch guests, we took to the kitchen and conjured up a pot of the most delicious pumpkin soup I have ever tasted!

And it went kinda like this…

Ingredients

1 largish Pumpkin – we used Butternut.
1 large Onion
50 grams butter
1 large handful diced bacon pieces
2 cm piece of fresh Ginger, grated
1 litre vegetable stock
Boiling water
Cream for garnish
Salt & Pepper

Sauté the diced onion and bacon with the butter in a large saucepan or stock pot. When the onion is soft, add the cubed pumpkin and grated ginger. Sauté for another 5 minutes then add the vegetable stock one cup at a time. Depending on how thick you like your soup, add 2-4 cups boiling water, then simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Once pumpkin is very soft, use a stick mixer to blend the soup. If you don’t have a stick mixer, you can use a blender or food processor to blend half or all of the mixture – again depending on whether you prefer smooth slightly chunky soup.

Season to taste.

Serve in warm bowls with a swirl of cream. Add some cracked pepper, croutons or crumbled, crisp, streaky bacon – just in case you didn’t have enough bacon in the soup (you can NEVER have enough bacon!).

The secret ingredient here… well, not such a secret now because I told you… is the ginger. I was unsure when Mr INTJ added it, but it added the ‘WOW’ factor to this soup without overpowering it, as ginger can sometimes do. If you are unsure, just add half the amount of ginger suggested, but don’t skip it. It just wont be the same.

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