This golden, velvet-textured soup is very satisfying and perfect for a warm light lunch on a chilly day. Green apple adds a sweet-sour tang to the flavour, with added zip from chillies, and the croutons provide a satisfying crunch.
2 slices wholemeal bread
85 g pepperoni sausage, diced
1 large onion, chopped
1 butternut pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and chopped
1 green apple, peeled, cored and chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 sprig of fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon chilli flakes
600 ml diluted salt-reduced or homemade chicken stock (recipes on this website)
Turn this recipe into a shopping list you can print, email or view on your mobile. It's free! Powered by Whisk.com
To make the croutons, cut the bread into small cubes, then gently cook in a large, dry, heavy-based saucepan until golden brown. Remove from the pan.
Put the pepperoni in the pan and fry gently for about 4 minutes until the fat runs off and the pieces are browned. Lift out and drain on paper towel, leaving the fat in the pan. Reserve the pepperoni for garnish.
Add the onion to the pan and fry gently in the pepperoni-flavoured oil for 4–5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened.
Stir in the pumpkin, apple, garlic, thyme and chilli flakes, cover and leave to cook on a very low heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pumpkin is tender when tested with the point of a knife.
Remove the sprig of thyme and tip the contents of the pan into a food processor or blender. Add about half the stock and process to a smooth purée. (You may need to do this in two batches.) Return to the pan and add the remaining stock. Reheat gently and season to taste. Sprinkle with pepperoni and croutons before serving.
3½ portions vegetables
*Freeze the three elements of the meal separately and combine just before serving. *If you prefer, a generous dash of chilli sauce can be added to the soup instead of the chilli flakes.
For a vegetarian version, replace the chicken stock with vegetable stock and use toasted pepitas to sprinkle over the soup in place of the pepperoni. You'll also need 1 tablespoon olive oil to fry the onion.