When my son was small (3-5 years old), he was a super picky eater. Vegetables and soups were something he struggled with a lot. We tried a lot of things to help but the turning point for him was actually a book!
Helen Cooper’s pumpkin soup.
We found the book by accident in the most unlikely place. A craft market here in Amman. A local library sadly had a fire and while they renovated they displayed their books in the craft market because it was near the library’s location. The wrapping actually had traces of smoke residue on it
Pumpkin soup was about a picky duck that would only eat Pumpkin soup. Her two friends (a cat and a squirrel) would plant pumpkins just for the pumpkin soup but a day came when they ran out of pumpkins! The story follows her friends as they try different recipes, different veggies and stories to get the duck to try new things.
Pumpkin soup and soup, in general, became one of our go-to ways to eat veggies. The books are still in his room, fondly tucked away in the library and we still tease him with a smile whenever we make pumpkin soup.
Soup is cuisine’s kindest course. It breathes reassurance; it steams consolation; after a weary day it promotes sociability, as the five o’clock cup of tea” — Louis P. De Gouy
Today’s recipe is our favorite way to make pumpkin soup. It is really simple but packs a real flavour punch and that is due to 3 little ticks:
- Roast the pumpkin: it will add great depth of flavour and deepen the beautiful orange colour
- Add a bundle of oregano to the soup as it simmers. I know oregano is not something you usually associate with pumpkin soup but trust me, it transforms the soup completely
- Top the soup with feta cheese and a generous sprinkle of sumac. The feta will add a salty creaminess while the sumac adds a pop of tart freshness.
Roasted pumpkin soup with zaatar and sumac
1 small pumpkin (mine was 1.7 kg)
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
2 tablespoons oregano
8 cups water
0.5 teaspoon allspice
2 teaspoons salt
Crumbled feta cheese (Replace with vegan cheese for a vegan version)
Toasted pumpkin seeds
Fresh oregano and parsley leaves
1.Preheat oven to 200C. Cut the pumpkin in half. Place on a rimmed baking sheet then brush with olive oil. Roast until the pumpkin is tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife, about 30 minutes.
2.In a pot add the olive oil and onions, and cook over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes.
3. Add the garlic and cook for 3 more minutes
4. Add the roasted pumpkin, oregano and water. Cook over medium-low heat for 30 to 40 minutes. (Place the oregano in a bundle or in a tea bag to make it easier to remove it later on).
4. Season with allspice, salt and adjust to taste
5. Puree the soup with a handheld mixer till smooth.
6. Serve topped with sumac, feta cheese, pumpkin seeds, and fresh parsley, and oregano.
For a richer soup you can replace half of the water with milk or add a can of coconut milk at the end. You can also add a drizzle of cream.