Ah, the Olympics.
I have screamed, cried and sung my national anthem (American), all before breakfast.
I am exhausted.
Luckily, the cooking is already done: my freezer is stocked to bulging with litre upon litre of "The Best Pumpkin Soup EVER."
DB's description - not mine - but who am I to argue?
DB is passionate about this soup.
He muscles all his friends who come to play into trying some (it's on permanent weekend rotation).
A few non-pumpkin eaters have refused and, though he'd never come out and say so, I suspect they've dropped in the rankings.
Strange friendship criteria for a seven-year-old boy?
Perhaps. But this is, after all, the child who asked Santa for a lobster last Christmas, and not as a pet.
And yet I still can't get him to eat fruit.
He's a mystery.
Back to the soup.
I posted about it way back when, but it's become such a staple that I feel it bears repeating.
Pumpkin soup is ubiquitous, like vanilla ice cream or steamed vegetables - always there, but nothing to get excited about.
This is different.
Pancetta, red onions, parmesan, and, critically, red wine vinegar distinguish this version from thinner, more timid cousins.
If pumpkin isn't your thing, I've included links to a few other favourites, below.
But don't expect DB to play with you.
Dash's Best Pumpkin Soup EVER
This recipe was inspired by one that I clipped out from a magazine - who knows which one - years ago. To the inspired soul who thought of including the pancetta, red onion and red wine vinegar: Thank you!
3 butternut pumpkins, halved and left un-peeled, seeds scooped out
3 olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
a knob of butter
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
150 gm round mild pancetta, finely chopped (sliced pancetta works fine, too - just chop it fine)
2 litres (8 cups) chicken stock
a handful of finely grated parmesan - if you have a leftover rind, toss that in the pot, too
a good slug of red wine vinegar (approximately 2 Tbs)
2. Meanwhile, heat the butter and olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot, over a medium-high flame and saute the pancetta until crisping along the edges.
3. Reduce the flame to medium and add the onion, sauteing until they become soft and translucent. Add the garlic and stir through well and saute gently and briefly - you don't want the garlic to burn.
4. Take the pan off the heat. Scoop the pumpkin from its shells, and add to the pot. Pour over the chicken stock, stir the lot, and turn the heat back on to medium high. If you have that left over heel of parmesan, add it now. Bring the soup to the near-boill and continue to simmer, partially covered and stirring occasionally (approximately 20 minutes).
5. Remove the parmesan heel and puree using a hand-held blender wand until very smooth.
6. Add a generous handful of finely grated parmesan and a good slug of red wine vinegar, blend again to incorporate. Season to taste, and you're done.
7. Optional: If you want to be fancy-pantsy, you could make some parmesan toast by combining equal parts softened butter and finely grated parmesan, plus one finely chopped garlic clove, spreading the mixture over thin baguette slices and grilling.
Other soups on permanent rotation at our place include: