Pumpkin Soup and Smoked Porter
A surplus of Pumpkins, bought a few weeks ago by an overenthusiastic bloke who should know better, led me to this recipe. Pumpkin soup; all rich and herby, seemed perfect for the cold snap and early darkness. A couple of bowls of this and you’re ready to take on the world.
It’s simple to make, as most soups are. Start by slicing a couple of Onions alongside your pumpkin, which you should core and slice the flesh into cubes. Of course, don’t use the skin. Sauté the Pumpkin cubes and Onion in batches in hot butter and a little Olive Oil until slightly golden.
Once softened, put your Onion and Pumpkin in a large pan. Add a pint of Chicken Stock (Or Vegetable, if your prefer) and 200ml of Single Cream. Blend with a wand until smooth. Season with generous amounts of Salt, Black Pepper and fresh chopped Thyme and Rosemary, and then bring to a slow boil before simmering for 5-10 minutes. That’s it – done. Serve in warmed bowls with bread.
Soup isn’t the first thing you think of whilst trying to pair beer with food. Strip the subject down to flavour, however, and it’s surprising what sits with what. I’ve had chilled Cucumber Soup with Thornbridge’s Wild Swan, and the balance between the two flavours was outstanding. Oxtail and Red Bean Soups are lovely with Stouts, and, perhaps subconsciously channelling the ‘Bonfire Night’ theme, I opted for a Smoked Porter with this; and it was lovely.
London’s Beavertown have cropped up recently, and I really, really enjoyed Smog Rocket Smoked Porter (5.4%abv). Pouring suitably pitch black and boasting a tight, creaamy tan head, it boasted a vibrant nose of blackcurrant, earthy hedgerow notes with just a hint of oaky, burned-woodsmoke. The body was light and silky, and it drank all too well; a creamy, malt-biscuit base overlaid with a sweet-yet-risingly-bitter finish that, again, just carried a note of smoke. That subtle hand with the smoke makes this beer; it’s one that people who don’t like overly smoked beers will get on fine with. I’ll be checking out the rest of their range.
It actually made the soup somehow sweeter; the salt and fresh herbs in the soup dovetailing nicely with the smoke in the beer. Beer and Soup, eh? Who’d have known? You might not be able to pick up any Pumpkins now; so give it a try with Sweet Potato or Squash instead.