This is a Jap pumpkin and it is said to have derived its name from the growers who weren't quite sure how to to market this new pumpkin so ended up calling it Jap, an acronym of Just Another Pumpkin.
I'm not sure if it's true or just an old wives tale but it certainly is a good story.
With a speckled skin and orange flesh, it has a sweet, nutty flavour. Due to its colour it is high in beta carotene which our body can convert into Vitamin A. There are also good levels of Vitamins C and E as well as potassium.
I'll be using this pumpkin to make a soup but it won't be just another pumpkin soup. Inspiration comes from a roasted red pepper soup we enjoyed during our recent anniversary getaway.
It's a two part process - curry spiced caramelised onions at the centre, surrounded by a velvety pumpkin soup.
The soup itself is a simple mix of pumpkin and milk. I may sound like a broken record as of late I seem to make all my vegetable soups using milk, but it really can't be beaten as a neutral agent in which flavour is carried. The milk enriches the texture and focuses on the natural flavour, rewarding you with soup that tastes of the vegetable rather than the stock that you've used.
Jap Pumpkin Soup with Curried Onions
500 grams Jap Pumpkin, peeled, cut into small dice
2 onions, sliced finely
Madras Curry Powder, or your favourite curry powder
Make the curried onions:
Heat a little oil and a knob of butter in a skillet over a gentle heat and when the butter has melted add in the sliced onions. Cook very slowly, stirring often.
When the onions have softened but not coloured sprinkle over 1 teaspoon of Curry powder. Stir well to ensure its evenly distributed. Taste and add more curry powder to suit your preference. Continue cooking until golden and caramelised.
Make the soup:
Heat a small knob of butter in a saucepan over a gentle heat and when the butter has just melted add the diced pumpkin. Stir well and cook for a minute before adding enough milk to cover the pumpkin. Let this simmer without boiling until the pumpkin is tender.
Pour the contents into a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and salt as required. Return the soup to a clean pot and over a low heat, bring it back up to temperature. If you feel the soup is too thick then add a little milk to slacken.
Assemble the soup:
Place a spoonful of the warm caramelised onions into the center of your serving bowls.
Place the soup into a jug and pour it carefully around the onions.
If you are serving this at a dinner party, get your guests to pour the soup themselves.
The soup itself is pure pumpkin, silky smooth and luxurious - the curried onions help to accentuate the pumpkins sweetness. It is a simple soup but the flavours are profound.