This time of year always used to hold an element of dread and I am sure many people still feel that way. After all, as it starts to get colder you just know it’s going to get colder still and for a long time. A very long time. What felt like an eternity last year.
Having spent most of my life in the UK, while the cold there isn’t anything like as cold as I get to experience here in Cambridge, Mass, I think I probably disliked the prospect of what was to come even more as it became darker, wetter and grayer. Growing up in Edinburgh, I have distinct memories of going to school as the street lights went off and them coming on again on my way home, and we didn’t have particularly long school days. It was all a bit depressing knowing months of that lay ahead.
However from a food point of view, it signals a change to a whole different set of foods and meals that we haven’t had in a while that I can’t wait to have again. Soups, stews and roasts have all been hibernating and our first few goes of them remind us of how great their comforting warmth can be. Plus I know my son likes them too. Well, he did last year – who knows now he is a full-on toddler. Thankfully, our first few tries suggest he still gets it.
Now it’s one of my favorite times of year, probably helped by the fact it’s generally a lot sunnier here. It also feels like fall/autumn is enjoyed a bit more in its own right, and part of that is from a food perspective. Visiting farms to pick your own apples and pick out a pumpkin is such a part of New England tradition. It all helps inspire me to think of different ways to enjoy the food available.
How this pumpkin broccoli soup came to be
I have built up a stock of go-to recipes for pumpkin (some more to come), but keep working on new ones as well. This is one of my recent successes. It partly came about as might get to be a theme: “I have some of this and this, I wonder if I can make something to use both of them?”
In this case it was some pumpkin which we all love in our house, but it can take a while to eat through unless you work at it. Then there’s the broccoli which has been shouting “pick me or I’ll go to mush/be eaten by slugs/some other fate” as I pass it each day outside our house. And so I hatched the idea of pumpkin broccoli soup. It’s given a smooth and tasty edge of a good sharp cheddar which goes well with both of them.
It’s one of those soups that is good for this time of year- warming but still with a slightly fresh edge. So not in the depths of winter yet. Either way, it made a great lunch and got my toddler’s seal of approval. Surely a hint it might be a good one to start a blog with.
This pumpkin broccoli soup is pretty quick and easy to make as the vegetables don’t take long to cook. For my son, I tend to add couscous to his soup to make it that bit thicker and easier to eat, as well as filling him up more. The couscous will also take on the flavor and swell even more if put in his little thermos to take with us, as we often do. No wonder he gobbles up the yummy spoonfuls.
A delicious combination that's easy to make - great for lunch or as an appetizer.
- 1 tbsp butter 15g
- 1/2 onion diced
- 4 1/2 oz broccoli 125g - 1 stem, approx
- 10 1/2 oz pumpkin 300g, peeled weight
- 1/2 tsp thyme fresh or dried
- salt and pepper
- 1 pint light stock 480ml, chicken or vegetable
- 1/2 cup cheddar 55g, packed 1/2 cup
- 1/4 cup milk or cream
Melt butter in a pan over medium heat. Add onion and soften until translucent but not browning, around 5mins.
Meanwhile chop broccoli and pumpkin - use whole stem not just florets of broccoli - in small to medium dice. Add to pan and sweat for around 10 minutes, stirring occasionally and covering in between.
Add thyme, season with salt and pepper to taste and add stock.
Bring to boil and simmer for 5-10mins.
Take off heat and blend, easiest with hand blender or transfer in batches to blender.
Add grated cheddar and stir in, allowing the heat to melt the cheese into the soup.
Add milk or cream and serve.
I find the easiest way to blend soups like this is with an immersion/stick blender (affiliate link).
Try these other tasty soups:
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