Bonfire Night and a spicy pumpkin soup recipe for Ma Pheasant November 03, 2016 00:00
Pheasant Plucker's always loved this time of year - mild and misty autumn afternoons of grey flat light, occasionally brightened by quiet sunshine, followed by long, cosy evenings in front of the fire. Pa Pheasant loved this time too – the adrenaline and stress of harvest was over, drilling was done and lambing was a good few weeks away.
When we were really little he always made a fuss about Guy Fawkes night and we’d have fireworks and a bonfire in one of the paddocks – I don’t think organised bonfires had really been invented in Lincolnshire back then. It was always exciting and a bit nerve-wracking watching him light the fireworks but we’d stand well back, sparklers firmly in hand and watch the colourful sparks light up the night sky.
We always had bonfire food, consisting mainly of hotdogs made from Lincolnshire sausages and toffee apples bought from the shop with toffee so hard you could crack your teeth on them.
Ma Pheasant will happily make soup at any time of the day or night and has saved thousands of pounds on therapy by calmly chopping and stirring it all out, serving up bowls of steaming goodness that nurture both her soul and ours.
In her honour, but in no way taking her mantle, we’ve created a special recipe for bonfire night. It’s warm and comforting but with a bit of a fiery kick, just like Ma Pheasant herself.
Spicy Pumpkin Soup for Bonfire Night
(greedy little fingers just couldn't wait until this photo had been taken!)
For the soup
Knob of butter
1 large pumpkin
1 large onion
5cm grated root ginger
2 cloves garlic
1 green chilli, chopped with or without seeds in
1 litre chicken stock
1 tsp ground cumin
1tsp ground coriander
juice of half a lemon
salt and pepper
For the toasted pumpkin seeds
Raw seeds from the roasted pumpkin
Splash of olive oil
1tbsp smoked paprika
salt and pepper
Quarter the pumpkin and scoop out the flesh, reserving the seeds for later. Lay the pumpkin on a roasting tin, pour over a good glug of olive oil and sprinkle over the cumin, coriander and a good sprinkling of salt and pepper. Roast at 180c for 90 mins or until the flesh is succulent and beginning to blacken.
In the meantime, melt a large knob of butter in a pan over a medium heat and add the roughly chopped onion. Sweat the onion, along with the ginger, chilli and garlic, in the butter for 15 minutes until it is softened but not browned.
When the pumpkin has finished roasting, peel the skin off and then roughly chop the remaining flesh. Add to the pan with the onions, the juice of half a lemon and a grating of fresh nutmeg. Pour in the chicken stock, bring to the boil and then liquidise with a hand mixer or in a food processor.
To toast the pumpkin seeds, pick away any stringy bits of pumpkin and wash them thoroughly in the bottom of a sieve with cold water. Spread them out on a piece of parchment on a baking tray, slug some olive oil over them and a teaspoon of smoked paprika and roast in the oven for 15 mins until they're crunchy and beginning to caramelise.
Serve the soup in warmed bowls, or mugs if you're having a bonfire party, with a dollop of cream or natural yoghurt and a sprinkling of the seeds on top. Delicious, healthy and comforting.
Happy Bonfire Night!