Pumpkin and sage are old friends and combine nowhere better than in this tasty soup from The Dutch Oven Cookbook. The pumpkin is roasted first (yes, in the Dutch oven) and then finished off in the stock with the remaining ingredients. Served drizzled with the sage butter and a good scattering of grated Parmesan, this soup is a real winner.
31/4 lb./1.5 kg pumpkin or butternut squash
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 sprigs of fresh sage
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
5 cups/1.25 litres hot chicken stock or vegetable stock
5 tablespoons/75 g butter
24 small sage leaves or 2 tablespoons chopped leaves
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400ºF/180ºC fan/200ºC/Gas 6.
Peel and de-seed the pumpkin and cut the flesh into large chunks — you should have roughly 21/4–23/4 lb./1–1.2 kg flesh. Place the flesh in a 6-quart/litre Dutch oven and add 1 tablespoon of the oil, the sage sprigs, and a little salt and pepper and stir well. Transfer to the preheated oven and roast, uncovered, for 45 minutes, stirring halfway through, until tender and a little golden.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a medium skillet/frying pan and gently fry the onion and garlic with the smoked paprika and some salt and pepper for 10 minutes until really soft and lightly golden. Set aside until required.
Remove the Dutch oven from the oven and stir in the onion mixture and hot stock. Return to the oven, still uncovered, and cook for a further 15 minutes. Carefully remove from the oven and discard the sage. Purée the soup using an immersion/stick blender or liquidizer until smooth and season to taste.
Heat the butter and sage leaves together in a small saucepan over a medium heat for 2–3 minutes until the leaves are crisp and golden and the butter a nutty golden brown. Immediately remove the pan from the heat.
Divide the soup between warm bowls and spoon over the sage butter, including the leaves.