It’s winter, and winter means soup!

Rain beating against the windows and wind making the house shudder and shake. Children sopping wet from outdoor sports practices and games or just walking home from school. Curtains pulled tight against the early dark. It must be winter! And winter, in our house, means soup.

It’s been a lovely mild winter so far. We were in shorts and tee shirts the first weekend in June which is almost unheard of! But this last week or so, we’ve had cold snaps and now the weather has packed up completely. I love winter. I love the food. I love the weather. I love snuggling under the duvet when I get to bed and warm sleepy cuddles from the husband and whichever children can cram themselves into my bed. In winter, I can always get warm, whereas in summer, I am often overheated. I blame it on my Celtic heritage. As a first generation Kiwi, I am clearly better suited for a Northern Hemisphere winter than a Southern Hemisphere summer.

So soup! I feel the need to make a whole new category just for soup. There’s the Albondigas, a Mexican meatball soup, spicy, flavour full and hearty. There’s the husband’s Leek and Potato soup, a favourite once we worked out the ratio of leeks to potatoes. But I’ll content myself with posting today’s soup, Roasted Pumpkin and Bacon. The caveat I need to put with this recipe is that I don’t like pumpkin. I won’t eat it by itself and try to duck it wherever possible. The only two places I like it are in soup and in pumpkin pie. I should also note that I find it hard to give exact quantities for things when I have made up the recipe, but I’ll do my best!

Roasted Pumpkin and Bacon Soup

To make this you will need a large pot and a blender 🙂

For the stock:

Ingredients

  • 1 bacon hock
  • 1 onion peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 handful of herbs – I tend to use oregano, thyme, rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic or a couple of cloves of garlic
  • water to cover the bacon hock

Method

Combine all in the large pot and allow to simmer for 2-3 hours. Remove the hock from the stock and take all the meat off.  Keep the meat to add back into the soup later. Strain the stock through a sieve.

For the vegetables:

Ingredients

  • 1 pumpkin, peeled and chopped
  • 2-3 carrots, peeled and sliced lengthways
  • 2-3 parsnips, peeling and sliced lengthways
  • 2 onions, peeled and halved

Method

Place all vegetables on oven trays and roast until slightly browned. In batches together with some of the stock, blend until smooth.

Put back in saucepan and add a couple of teaspoons of caraway or cumin seeds, and the meat from the hock. Reheat until warm. Fry a little bacon and use this to garnish the soup with a little sour cream.

This is really nice served with fresh bread from the breadmaker. I often make the stock and roast the veges the night before, put a loaf of bread into the breadmaker in the morning before we go to school and work, timed to be ready later in the day. I then assemble the soup at dinner time et voila!

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