Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Slow cooker South Western Pumpkin Soup Recipe

This is my favourite soup of all time and we've started a Sunday Night Soup tradition in our house so I was very keen to see if this would work in the slow cooker the moment I saw pumpkins for sale in Sainsburys. It would be a more than fantastic use for the innards of a carving pumpkin too.

Just a note for my American readers - you will be shocked, nay aghast, to learn that it is almost impossible to buy pumpkin purée in a can in the UK so fresh pumpkin is a seasonal treat. I know! Please rest assured that we do have such modern amenities as running water and even central heating in most buildings....;>)  However, this will explain why the soup is made with fresh pumpkin. You can just use 1 can of purée as my original recipe did.

In case you're wondering how to handle the rest of the pumpkin, I've added instructions at the bottom. We used to grow several every year when we had the space so I'm an old hand.

Ingredients for 6 (it's rich so these are small servings):

3 cups/ 750 ml chicken stock made with 1 cube (see verdict - I'd modify this)
750 g raw pumpkin (or 1 lb 10 oz by weight)
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup/250 ml double/heavy cream
3/4 cup/ 100g mature cheddar cheese, grated, for serving
Chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) or use a couple of tbsp minced from a jar


Peel then chop the pumpkin you are using. Usually a potato peeler works fine for this. (See below for further pumpkin wrangling tips). Make up the chicken stock and add both the stock and pumpkin to the slow cooker, along with the spices. Cook on Low for 7 hours or High for 3-4.

Using a stick blender, or a goblet blender if that's what you have, blend the soup until smooth. The pumpkin should be tender by now,

Turn the slow cooker to High and add the cream. Allow to cook another 15 minutes then stir in the cilantro and serve, garnished with grated cheese.


Oh, pumpkin soup, how I do love thee! This is still my favourite soup of all time. It's spicy, complex, creamy, comforting, surprising and warming. I really recommend you try it (And soon, you Brits! Pumpkins disappear the moment Halloween is over!)

The only thing I would say is that the water was still a little too high in this and I would reduce it to just over 2 cups or maybe 600ml as the pumpkin gives out a lot of water.

I've also roasted some pumpkin (see below) and will be seeing if it makes a difference to the flavour of the soup which I think it will.

Pumpkin Prep:

Here's how to make pumpkin purée which is handy for pumpkin pies, soups etc. or roast pumpkin for risottos, pasta dishes and so on.

This will only work if you have a pumpkin which isn't needed for carving, although you can still make the soup above with carving pumpkin innards.

Chop the pumpkin in half. Empty the halves of seeds and the stringy flesh around them. I use an ice cream scoop for this and it works well. You can wash the seeds and roast them later for a tasty snack.

Put each half in a roasting tray, flesh side down. Don't use a baking sheet as these babies give out a lot of water when roasted. If you have, let''s say, cut off a chunk from one half to make a yummy pumpkin soup which a friendly blogger recommended you just had to try (it could happen), then cover  that half with foil as the pumpkin flesh needs to steam a bit so needs to be enclosed.

Bake at 400F/ 180C for 45 minutes or so till the pumpkin flesh is fork tender.

Carefully pour away the pumpkin juices then scoop out the flesh with your trusty ice cream scoop into a large colander. If you need the pumpkin in lumps then cool quickly and store in the fridge for a maximum of 48 hours before using. Pumpkin provides a warm, moist, sugar-laden haven for breeding bacteria so you need to be a little careful in cooling and storing it. You don't want to know how we found this out!

Press down hard on the flesh, maybe using an old plate, and try to push as much extra fluid as you can out of the pumpkin flesh. You'll be amazed how much extra comes out.

Use a stick blender or a blender to purée the pumpkin flesh. I suggest freezing the purée in 500 ml or 2 cup portions as this is what is usually called for in recipes.


  1. Thanks Kalyn! I'll be trying one of the pumpkin chillis soon!

  2. Hey Jennie - I made this recipe today sans slow cooker but it was still delicious... hope you're well - happy new year!

  3. Glad you liked it, Wendy! Happy New Year to you and yours as well!