It’s beginning to look a lot like Halloween out there! I’m getting ready with my Halloween menu and thought we might warm up with this creamy pumpkin soup with scallops. In my book, this is a real killer soup: creamy, sweet, spicy with a hint of citrus, garlic and finished off elegantly with pan-seared scallops. What is not to like?
Serve it before or after you go out there trick or treating with the little ones, either way it will surely make you feel warm and guard you against the chill. Without a doubt the chili and garlic will keep any monsters or vampires that might be lurking out there at bay while you get to enjoy this delicious meal. Totally win-win, right? Have a happy Halloween!
Creamy pumpkin soup with pan seared scallops, red chili and lemon oil (serves 4)
1 Hokkaido or small pumpkin pie pumpkin (about 1.25 kilos)
2 tbsp butter
4 cloves garlic, crushed
24 oz (700 ml) good quality chicken (or vegetable) stock
4 oz (100 ml) white wine
10 oz (1 1/4 cup/300 ml) full cream
2-3 pinches ground coriander
1 red chili, sliced into thin rings
Lemon (or lime) infused olive oil
Canola (rapeseed) oil (for frying the scallops)
1-2 large scallops per person
Salt and pepper
Microgreens for garnish
1. First, remove the top of the pumpkin, cut the pumpkin in halves and scoop out all the seeds and goo. Then cut each half into thick slices and carefully remove the pumpkin skin with a sharp knife. Cut all the pumpkin meat into bitesize chunks.
2. In a large pot, melt the butter and sauté the pumpkin chunks with the crushed garlic over medium heat for about 5 minutes (don’t let the pumpkin brown). Add the white wine and stock and bring to a boil, then turn down the heat, cover the pot with a lid, and let the pumpkin simmer for about 20-25 minutes until the pumpkin meat is soft all way through and take the pot off the heat.
3. Now blend the soup into a smooth cream by using a handheld blender. Add the ground coriander and cream and reheat until the soup starts to simmer. Let simmer for about 15 min. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Pour a bit of canola oil into a small frying pan and heat up at high heat. Quickly sear the scallops a couple of minutes, no more, on each side until slightly brown and crusted. Season with a bit of salt and pepper.
5. Arrange the soup in individual plates as shown in the picture. First pour soup onto the plate, then garnish with microgreens and thin chili slices and place 1-2 scallops on each plate just before serving. Finish off with a drizzle of lemon or lime infused olive oil.
Here are a few more suggestions for your Halloween menu:
Lasagna for kids and grown ups alike. With lamb, butternut squash and sage. Easy to make beforehand. Here, we’ve garnished with a generous drizzle of parsley and almond pesto.
Or, try this delicious beef stew with pumpkin, red wine and herbs. This, you can even make the day before, in fact it will only bring out even more of the flavors. This is real comfort food perfect for a cold Halloween night.
And of course, let’s not forget dessert! These yummy spooky Halloween treats with marzipan base, fluffy marshmallow and white chocolate cover make for one tasty and fun Halloween dessert or snack.