I love the combination of sweet, spicy and smoky. Each mouthful is a voyage of discovery: the sweet dominates first, then comes the smoke and finally the heat hits you. Chipotle, which are smoked dried jalapeños, give both the spice and the smokiness to this soup. They vary in heat, so assess how hot yours is before adding it. If you can't get chipotle, use fresh chilli and smoked paprika instead, to taste. To add some crunch, brush a tortilla with oil, garlic, smoky paprika and a little salt, bake until crisp and break over the soup.
3 tbsp olive oil
4 shallots (100g), peeled and chopped
5 garlic cloves, chopped
3 celery sticks, cut into 1cm dice
1 tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp grounder coriander
400g peeled pumpkin or butternut squash, cut into 1cm dice
2 bay leaves
3 lime leaves, or a few shaved strips of lime zest
1 litre water
½ tsp chipotle chilli flakes
4 sweetcorn cobs, kernels shaved off
160g soured cream
3 limes, halved
1 handful torn coriander leaves
- Heat the oil in a medium pot, add the shallots, garlic, celery, ground cumin, ground coriander and a little salt, and sauté on low heat for 12 minutes, to soften the vegetables.
- Add the pumpkin, bay leaves, lime leaves, chipotle flakes and water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the pumpkin is soft. Add the corn and cook for five minutes.
- Use a slotted spoon to lift out about half of the vegetables, and remove and discard the bay and lime leaves. Blitz the remaining soup until smooth, then return the vegetables to the pot and bring to a light simmer. Add a little water if you find it too thick. Stir in half the soured cream and taste for seasoning.
- Divide the soup into six bowls, squeeze the juice of half a lime into each portion, drop about a tablespoonful of soured cream in the middle and scatter over the torn coriander leaves.