Pippa Mattei prepares a winter soup for starters. This year she will prepare a pumpkin, and chestnut soup which she will serve with butter, chives and orange zest. It is fun to introduce a novel element into the menu.
900g pumpkin flesh (weigh after taking off thick skin), chop roughly
1 large red onion, also roughly chopped
4 large cloves garlic, peeled
200g cooked and peeled unsweetened chestnuts
1 litre hot vegetable stock
Zest and juice of one small Maltese orange
50g butter, softened
1 teaspoon red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives, plus extra to garnish
Preheat the oven to 150oC/Gas mark 2. Put the chopped pumpkin, onion and garlic in a large ovenproof pan, with all but 25g of the chestnuts. Pour in the hot stock. Cover and bring to the boil, then cook in the oven for 2 hours until the vegetables are meltingly tender. Cool.
Purée the soup with just the orange juice and adjust the seasoning to taste. Dry fry the reserved chestnuts in a pan until golden, then leave to cool. Finely chop the chestnuts, then beat together in a bowl with the butter, orange zest, chilli and chopped chives. Cover and chill until firm. Reheat the soup. Divide among eight bowls and serve topped with a teaspoon of the chestnut butter and extra chives.
There you have it! A Pumpkin and Chestnut soup with Chive butter from Pippa’s Christmas Table, to start off the traditional Christmas Lunch.