The weather has flipped. And just like that, it’s autumn in Melbourne. I don’t need to look at a calendar to tell me that. Unlike this harsh change of season, however, winter will quietly make its way into autumn, blending the two into one — it usually does. Winter is very sneaky like that.
Now is about the time Melburnians will start to adorn themselves with layers upon layers of black — and fill their bellies with warm, comfort food so they can be heated from the inside out. While a curry or a casserole will certainly do that, you can’t beat the simplicity of a hearty, nourishing soup — especially after a long hard day’s work.
Soups: thank you for making my winters (and autumns) bearable — just!
- ½ cup adzuki beans, soaked overnight (or at least for 6 hours) and rinsed
- 550 g pumpkin, when peeled, seeded & diced
- 2 tbsp olive oil, and a little extra for roasting the pumpkin
- 1 brown onion, finely chopped
- 4 garlic gloves, crushed
- 1 knob ginger (about the size on an Aussie 20c coin), finely grated
- 1 large celery stick, finely diced
- dried spices — 1 tsp turmeric powder, 2 tsp ground coriander seeds, pinch nutmeg powder
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock, preferably homemade
- 2 bay leaves
- sea salt, to taste
- freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste
Preheat oven to 180C and line an oven tray with baking paper. Lightly coat diced pumpkin with olive oil and roast for 25–30 minutes until soft. Then remove from oven and set aside until needed.
While the pumpkin is roasting, you can start preparing the soup base. In a large, heavy-based pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and sauté the onions and celery until the onions become translucent. Add the ginger and garlic, sautéing for a couple more minutes before adding in the spices. Keep stirring for another two minutes or so, then mix in the tomato paste. Let the tomato paste cook with the spices for a few minutes, then add in the adzuki beans and mix well.
To the next stage of the soup — pour in the stock together with the roast pumpkin and bay leaves. Bring to a boil then simmer over gentle heat for about 45 minutes or until the adzuki beans are cooked through.