I like to make this recipe as soon as the Halloween pumpkins are in the shops - it has become my 'changing of the seasons' recipe to mark Autumn and make me feel better about saying goodbye to the longer days. Comfort food is definitely the way to soothe your soul in the darker months!
I discovered lardons as a crouton substitute when I needed to jush-up a shop-bought soup I had to serve at a dinner party once. (Oh the horror! ;p) Since then I can't resist a bit of pancetta on my soup and in my head it means bread on the side for dipping is quite acceptable too - which i prefer anyway because it doesn't go soggy, until you want it to!
To make 4 servings
- 1 medium pumpkin, peeled and cut into 1inch-ish chunks
- 6 cloves of garlic, left in skins
- olive oil
- 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- pinch of ground nutmeg
- salt and pepper to taste
- Rutland Charcuterie pancetta - diced in 1cm cubes
- 1 cup hazelnuts
- a few sage leaves, roughly chopped
- olive oil
Preheat the oven to 200C.
In a roasting tin, toss the pumpkin and garlic with a little olive oil. Spread out and roast for around 30 minutes until the pumpkin is tender.
Fry the sage in a little of olive oil over a high heat for about 30 sec until fragrant. Remove and mix with the hazelnuts in a side dish. In the same pan fry the pancetta cubes - you should't need any more oil. Once crispy and nicely coloured, set aside with the sage and hazelnut mix.
When the pumpkin is nearly ready, soften the onion with a little oil over a medium-high heat. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat to cool for 5 minutes before the next stage.
Squeeze the roasted garlic out of it's skin and add to the stock with the pumpkin. Puree using a stick blender or kitchen blender, being careful to allow the liquid to cool a little first, not overfilling and letting any steam out as you go.
Add the nutmeg and season to taste.
To serve, use shallow bowls and concentrate the hazelnuts and pancetta in the centre so they pile up and show above the soup (they won't float like croutons). Enjoy with some fresh, crusty bread and salted butter. And a little hard cheese if you're feeling lavish!
We hope you enjoy this recipe - do let us know how you get on!
Our pancetta is available to order here.