Made with odds and ends from the bottom of my crisper, this soup can be easily adapted to suit whatever you may have on hand. You could add a few potatoes, or tomatoes or even a few peppers. The chipotle chilies lend a bit of smoky spice to what would be a rather sweet soup because of the pumpkin and the carrot. The soup freezes well and delicious when topped with some roughly chopped nuts for a bit of texture and a bit of feta cheese for the sharp tang against the creaminess of the soup.

Johan Briedé, Still Life with Pumpkins 1931
oil on canvas, 53 x 95.5cm, Private collection

Johan Briedé was a Dutch artist and graphic designer. His career was spent producing illustrations for various magazines and publications in the Netherlands. By the end of his career he produced around 130 bookplates in addition to the numerous drawings, paintings and etchings he completed. He was interested in the work of Vincent Van Gogh whose influence is evident in the work above, Still Life with Pumpkins. The short staccato brushwork is similar to the technique employed by Van Gogh and bright palette is reminiscent of his Arles paintings.

{Pumpkin Soup}

Yield: serves 8

1/2 red onion
1 brown onion
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 carrots, sliced
5 stalks of celery, sliced
1/4 cup dry white wine
3 cloves of garlic, crushed and sliced
2 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce + 1 teaspoon of the sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1.5 litres of chicken stock
3 bay leaves
200 grams pumpkin, chopped
250 ml sour cream

to serve:
roughly chopped pistachios
fresh parsley
sliced baguette with feta

Add the onions, butter, oil and salt to a large stockpot. Over medium high heat, brown for 2-3 minutes while you chop the carrot. Add the carrot to the pot and stir occasionally for another 2-3 minutes while you chop the celery. Add the celery to the pot and cook for another 3 minutes and then add the white wine to de-glaze the pan. Cook for about 30 seconds and add the garlic, chipotle chilie + adobo sauce and oregano. Stir well to incorporate all of the ingredients and add the chicken stock and bay leaves.

While the soup is coming to a boil, chop up your pumpkin into 1-inch cubes. Once the soup is boiling, add the pumpkin and cook over lower heat for about an hour or until the vegetables are easily mashed with a spoon. Using an immersion blender, carefully blend the soup into a smooth mixture. Once blended, add the sour cream and mix well. Simmer over low heat for another 10 minutes and serve hot with roughly chopped pistachios, fresh parsley and slices of baguette smeared with feta.