Pumpkin soup with a yoghurt swirl

Pumpkin soup with a yoghurt swirl

Lisa Cohen and William Meppem

A touch of cardamom and chilli lifts this soup into a rather exotic realm and the spices are beautifully counterbalanced by the creamy, sweet yoghurt swirl.

Pekmez, or grape molasses, is available from Turkish food stores.


Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons olive oil
20g unsalted butter
2 leeks, roughly chopped, white part only
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 teaspoons pekmez
1 small butternut pumpkin, peeled and diced
1 long red chilli, seeded and roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
1.25 litres * chicken stock [rid:9962]

Yoghurt swirl

Quantity Ingredient
200g thick natural yoghurt
1 teaspoon pekmez
pinch sea salt


  1. Heat the oil and butter in a large, heavy-based saucepan. Sauté the leeks and garlic for a few minutes, then add the spices and sauté over a low heat for 5–8 minutes, until the leeks soften.
  2. Stir in the pumpkin, chilli and bay leaf, then add the stock. Bring to the boil, skimming away any fat and impurities that rise to the surface, then lower the heat immediately. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and fish out the bay leaf. Purée the soup in batches in a vitamiser or with a hand-held blender until very smooth and creamy. If you want it to be supremely silky-smooth, pass the soup through a fine sieve.
  4. Beat the yoghurt with the pekmez and salt in a small bowl until smooth. When ready to serve, ladle the soup into warmed bowls and swirl in a generous dollop of yoghurt.
Middle Eastern
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