Roasted pumpkin and garlic soup with parmesan croûtons and parsley oil


For the stock
For the soup
For the parsley oil
For the parmesan croutons

Preparation method

  1. For the stock, heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan until smoking hot then add the chopped chicken carcass. Cook over a high heat for a few minutes constantly shaking the pan, until the bones have taken on plenty of colour. Add the chopped vegetables and cook until well coloured.

  2. Pour in the white wine vinegar and cook until completely evaporated. Then pour over a whole bottle of Muscadet, add the bay leaves and thyme and cook until the liquid is reduced to about a third of its original volume. Pour in the boiling water and cook, uncovered, at a gentle boil for 40 minutes.

  3. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

  4. For the soup, spread the pumpkin slices out on baking trays, sprinkle with olive oil, salt, pepper and torn sprigs of thyme. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes. Test that the slices are cooked through - the edges should have taken on some colour and the flesh will be tender. Remove from the oven and set aside.

  5. Meanwhile break open the bulb of garlic and place the cloves with their skins on into a pan of boiling water. Boil for 7-8 minutes. Remove from the water, and squeeze them out of their skins. Heat the butter in a small frying pan and fry the cloves gently for 2-3 minutes. Set aside with the roasted pumpkin.

  6. Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan and gently fry the shallots and celery for 5-6 minutes, then set aside.

  7. Place the roasted pumpkin, cooked garlic, shallots and celery into a food processor and blend thoroughly. You may need to do this in batches. Adding a little liquid from the stockpot will help achieve a smooth consistency.

  8. Strain the remaining stock through a muslin-lined sieve into the purée and season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Keep the soup warm but do not allow to boil again.

  9. For the parsley oil, place the parsley into a food processor with a little salt and lemon juice and blend. Stir in enough extra virgin olive oil to make a thick pouring sauce.

  10. For the parmesan croutons, preheat the grill to medium. Slice the baguette into small rounds about 1cm/½in thick and toast under the grill on both sides. Using a pastry brush, brush one side of each crouton with olive oil. Turn the grill up to its highest setting.

  11. To serve, ladle the soup into heatproof bowls. Float a crouton oiled-side down into each bowl of soup. Sprinkle the croutons with freshly grated parmesan cheese and place the bowls of soup under the grill, until the cheese is melted. Just before serving, drizzle a little of the parsley oil into each bowl of soup.

30 mins to 1 hour preparation time

1 to 2 hours cooking time

Serves 8-10

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