Prep time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 35 mins
For the soup:
- 4 red peppers, deseeded and cut into quarters
- 30g butter
- 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
- 6 shallots, diced peeled
- 750g pumpkin, peeled and diced into 2 cm pieces
- 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- Leaves of one sprig of thyme
- 1.2 litre good vegetable stock
- 100ml double cream (optional)
- Sea salt and black pepper
For the candied shallots:
- 250g unsalted butter
- ¼ tsp of cumin seeds
- 8 (250g) shallots, peeled and sliced
- ¼ tsp ground cumin
- ¼ tsp paprika
- 1 tsp honey
- 2 tsp chives, finely chopped
- 30g pumpkin seeds, toasted
- 120ml low fat crème fraiche
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.
2. To make the soup: Place the peppers skin side up, on a baking sheet and roast in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until the skins are charred. Remove from the oven and place in a bowl. Cover with cling film and leave to cool. Once cool, peel off the skins, and reserve the flesh.
3.Meanwhile, melt the butter with oil in a large, heavy based saucepan. Add the shallots, pumpkin and red chilli, season with sea salt and black pepper and sweat the vegetables for 5-10 minutes without browning. Add the garlic and thyme and cook on a low heat for a further minute. Pour in the vegetable stock, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Add in the red peppers and cook for a further 5 minutes.
4. For the candied shallots: Melt the butter in a small pan over a medium heat, add the cumin seeds and shallots and fry until soft. Add the ground cumin and paprika and cook the shallots for a further then 1 minute, stirring the shallot mixture all the time to prevent burning. Fry until caramelised for approx. 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat and season with sea salt and stir in the honey.
5. To finish and serve: Blend the soup in a food processor or with a hand blender and adjust the seasoning to taste. Return to the pan, if a little thick add more stock and if you wish, stir in the cream. Gently reheat the soup and ladle into warmed bowls. Place a spoonful of low fat crème fraiche in each and sprinkle with the chives, toasted pumpkin seeds and candied shallots.