This year our harvest of pumpkins and winter squash was dismal. That may sound a little dramatic, but here are some numbers: last year we harvested on average 20 spaghetti squash per plant, this year it was just 3. The pumpkin “Potimarron” started out really well, setting a lot of fruits in the warmth of June. But then the weather changed to cool and wet and the little fruits rotted instead of ripening. We only got one large pumpkin and 2 dwarfs.
So while we were still eating last year’s squash in April this year, this season’s harvest will be finished a lot sooner. But I’ve heard Monty Don complaining on BBC Gardener’s World that this was the worst squash year in his entire (much longer) gardening career, so I know it’s not just me.
The first pumpkin/squash dish of the season is always this brilliantly coloured, warmly spiced soup. It is my son’s favourite soup of all time and I have once cooked it with his entire class when they were 5 years old, after which several mothers requested the recipe, delighted at this possibility to feed their offspring vegetables. My parents grow pumpkins for the sole purpose of making this soup and it has also become the vegetarian soup option of our Christmas menu. So even if you just harvested one pumpkin or winter squash this year, make this soup!
Last photo in the post shows our wormery in which our kitchen scraps are converted to high quality compost by worms. Yes, even our worms eat well!
African pumpkin soup with curry and ginger
Adapted (only slightly) from the AllerHande magazine (Dutch)
4 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, peeled and diced
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp cinnamon powder
800g winter squash or pumpkin, peeled, seeds removed and cut in pieces of about 2 cm
500g potatoes, peeled and cut in chunks
4 apples, peeled, cored and cut in chunks
2 tbsp grated fresh ginger root
1,5 l vegetable bouillon
2 bay leaves
200 ml lightly whipped cream
2 tbsp chives, minced
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion an sauté for about 5 min. Add curry and cinnamon powder and sauté for several more minutes, so that the spices can melt. Add squash, potatoes, apples and ginger and sauté for 5 min, stirring all the time. Add the broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 min. Let the soup cool a little, take out the bay leaves and puree the soup in a blender, or with an immersion blender. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve with a dollop of cream and a sprinkling of chives in each bowl.