Halloween Pumpkin & Pear Soup
Pumpkin & pear soup with onion scones
Pear in soup? It makes a really light, fresh addition to this hearty, earthy autumn dish and the melted cheese on top hits every tastebud on your tongue. And let’s face it – we all have a lot of pumpkin around today!
50g unsalted butter
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
400g onions, coarsely chopped
1kg pumpkin, cut into pieces
1.2 litres vegetable stock, hot
50g pumpkin seeds
2 firm pears
freshly ground black pepper
100g mature cheddar (such as Isle
of Mull, Loch Arthur or Anster), grated, to serve
Heat the butter and olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat, then add the onions and fry gently until translucent. This will take about 10 minutes.
Add the pumpkin, stir well, then season with salt and add the hot stock.
Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes until the pumpkin is tender. Meanwhile, put the pumpkin seeds on a baking tray in an oven at 180ºC/350ºF/Gas 4. Turn the seeds occasionally, until toasted. Set aside.
Peel the pears and chop coarsely, then add to the soup and heat through.
If the pears are ripe, they won’t need to be cooked but if they are hard, simmer for 5 minutes to soften them. Transfer the soup to a blender or use a hand-held stick blender to blend until smooth, then add salt and pepper to taste. Serve sprinkled with plenty of cheese and the toasted pumpkin seeds to add a little crunch. Onion scones straight from the oven are the final touch.
Savoury scones with a hearty bowl of soup make a heavenly lunch at any time of the year but it really hits the spot in these autumn months
150g unsalted butter, chilled, plus extra, softened, for greasing
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, very finely sliced
300g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp baking powder
100g Isle of Mull or similar mature cheddar, finely grated
15g chives, finely chopped
200ml natural yogurt
1 tsp cayenne pepper
egg wash made from 1 egg, beaten
Heat 20g butter and the olive oil in a large pan. When they are hot, add the onion and fry gently until translucent. This will take about 10 minutes.
Set aside. Preheat the oven to 220ºC/425ºF/Gas 7 and grease a baking tray.
Sieve the flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl and coarsely grate the remaining chilled butter on top. Dip the butter into the flour to stop it sticking, then add the grated cheddar and rub the mixture with your fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg, chives, yogurt and cayenne pepper. Mix until the ingredients come away from the sides of the bowl.
Transfer to a floured surface and knead lightly. The mixture should be soft enough to handle. The yogurt can make the mixture sticky so don’t be shy to add more flour if it is too sticky to handle. Roll out to about 2.5cm thick, then use a small scone or biscuit cutter to cut out the scones. Place on the greased baking tray, brush with the egg wash and sprinkle with the fried onions. Bake for 10–12 minutes until risen and golden.