Imagine a cold winter's day … Now imagine devouring a bowl of warm pumpkin soup, thick and creamy — with a generous dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of chives on a cold winter's day. Now, isn't that instantly better? Thought so.

Pumpkins are the larger members of the squash family, commonly used in both savoury and dessert dishes such as pies, purees, muffins, and lasagne, and are a staple side vegetable for the great Australian Sunday roast. Varieties like butternut pumpkin (a gourd-shaped squash) add a nutty and sweet flavour in soup recipes and are also delicious when combined with vegetables and legumes like lentils and chickpeas.

Around the world, people use parts of the pumpkin for multiple purposes; from hollowing out pumpkin shells and carving them into Halloween jack-o-lanterns, to stewing the young pumpkin leaves in curries and deep-frying the flowers. You can also minimise wastage at home by scooping out the seeds and roasting with a little olive oil for a tasty and healthy snack.

Although pumpkins are usually branded as a winter vegetable, you'll find them in supermarkets all year round. A large batch of pumpkin soup is a cheap and tasty way to feed the whole family, and will keep all week for lunch, dinner or just a filling snack.

Usually, pumpkin soup is made with liquid stock, or cubes, but for an extra creamy dimension you can pour in some milk. To obtain a much stronger, more robust-flavoured soup, roast the pumpkin instead of boiling it and prinkle a little cinnamon and nutmeg over to give an extra layer of depth to your soup recipe. For a little something extra, you might like to garnish with a few croutons, some parmesan, pesto, chopped coriander or even the pumpkin seeds you roasted earlier. With our pumpkin soup recipes, you'll actually be looking forward to the next time winter comes around

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