Pumpkin and Potato Soup

Let me be very honest. I find making soups quite a botheration. I mean chopping and cutting so many vegetables for your broth and ten thousand other things only to get a liquid by the end of it sounds unfair to me. I love to eat soups though (Do you eat or drink soup? In Bengal, we "eat" everything, even water!), my favourite being the South Asian variety. Tom Yum, Thai, Chimney, Seafood soup...you name it and my hand would go up. But for those special comfort meals, I don't really mind a warm, hearty and humble British/American-style soup, like this Pumpkin and Potato Soup. In fact, I adore them.
I have never had Pumpkin Soup in my life, but of late I've been observing everybody around me making soups with humble vegetables, yeah even Masterchef contestants. It is not winter in our part of the world yet, but it's unusually cool for the first week of November. And I have the dubious track record of a sore throat with massive cough and cold during a season change. Always. This time around too it was no exception. Now when I'm semi-sick I long for khichudi or alu-kumro sheddho-dim-sheddho bhaat (Rice with boiled potato, pumpkin and egg) but that ends up in me consuming oodles of butter and ghee in the process and gain some unnecessary weight by the time I'm fit again. So this time around, I chose to go the liquid route. A pumpkin and potato soup is essentially stewed, mashed and thinned potato and pumpkin (without the egg and rice) in a bowl. I had it for 3 days at a stretch till I grew tired of it and made a pasta sauce with the leftovers!

Pumpkin and Potato Soup

Serves: 4
Ingredients:

Pumpkin, chopped roughly: 300 gm
Onion, finely chopped: 1
Potatoes, boiled and cubed: 2
Garlic paste: 1 tsp
Chicken/vegetable stock: 3 cups
Butter: 1 tsp
Olive oil: 1 tsp
Nutmeg: a pinch
Cinnamon powder: a pinch
Salt, to taste
Pepper powder, to taste
Dill: 2 tbsp (I used dried)
Dried cranberries: 1 tbsp (for garnish)

Method

1. In a deep-bottomed saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the chopped onions and lightly fry till translucent. Add garlic and saute for a couple of minutes.

2. Add the chopped boiled potatoes and pumpkin. Let them cook for sometime on slow heat. Keep adding the stock from time to time. After each addition, bring to a boil, and then lower and continue cooking covered.

3. Add salt and pepper, cinnamon powder and nutmeg and cook till the veggies are done.

4. Now let the soup cool. Pulse the entire thing in a blender till smooth and creamy. Reheat in the same saucepan. Add the spoonful of butter and dill.

5. Serve hot with a garnish of dill and dried cranberries.
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