This soup has a very creamy consistency but is completely dairy-free except for the optional garnish of sour cream. Feel free to play around with the amount of carrot, onion or celery, garlic to your taste. This soup can be made the day before and reheated.
1 medium pumpkin (about 1.5kg) peeled, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 bacon rashers, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
6 stalks celery, chopped
6 carrots, chopped
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 Granny Smith apple - peeled, cored, and cubed
4 cloves garlic, minced
250ml apple juice
1.5 litres chicken stock
nutmeg and sour cream to serve (optional)
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Preheat an oven to 190 degrees C. Drizzle the chopped pumpkin with olive oil; mix to coat; sprinkle with salt and pepper and spread it out into a single layer on a baking tray. Roast it in the preheated oven, turning once, until cooked 30 to 40 minutes.
Place the bacon in a large pot and cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until evenly browned, about 10 minutes. Remove the bacon slices to a paper towel-lined plate; leave the fat in the pot. Chop the bacon when cool.
Place the onion, celery, carrot, bay leaf, curry powder, thyme and salt and pepper in the pot; cook in the bacon fat until the carrots and celery are soft. Mix in the apples and the cooked pumpkin and cook another 5 minutes. Stir the garlic into the mixture and cook another 1 minute. Pour in the apple juice; reduce heat to medium-low and bring to a simmer; allow to reduce to about half its original volume. Stir in the chicken stock; simmer over medium-low heat for about 20 minutes.
Puree the soup in small batches in a blender, or use a stick blender in the pot. If using a blender, don't fill the blender more than half-way. Always remove the centre lid piece of a blender when blending hot liquids so the steam can escape. Cover the hole with a dish cloth while blending. Stir the nutmeg and most of the bacon into the soup. Garnish each bowl with 1 tablespoon of sour cream (if desired) and some of the bacon pieces to serve.