pumpkin soup with tomato, corn and coriander salsa

this is a very simple vegetarian soup but also one that surprised me. the heart of it is a mix of pumpkin (or squash) and sweetcorn, plus shallots fried in butter and some fresh lime juice for a bit of zing. plus a great salsa topping.

i was worried the soup would be too sweet (something i often find with sweetcorn dishes) or that i would be craving spice but as i was intrigued by the salsa i pushed on. the surprise was that while the soup was sweet, it was also very savoury. i think that was at least partly due to my choice of  my favourite crown prince pumpkin which has a lovely depth of flavour compared to some squashes or pumpkins, so choose carefully if you fancy making this. i think the flavour was also improved by my use of (leftover) roasted pumpkin, although the recipe stipulates raw.

having said that, i think the the salsa is where it gets really interesting. sweetcorn kernels are fried in a little butter-oil mix until they begin to brown and caramelise (so delicious!). this extra sweetness is then offset by some chopped tomato, lime zest, coriander and salty feta cheese. it works fabulously well and turns this into something a little bit special.

pumpkin soup with tomato, corn and coriander salsa (serves 4)

50g butter

6 shallots, chopped

750g peeled and deseeded pumpkin or butternut squash, chopped (or you can use roasted pumpkin/squash, as i did)

250g sweetcorn kernels, fresh or frozen (and defrosted), or creamed-style corn

600ml hot vegetable stock

juice of 1 lime

for the salsa:

a small knob of butter

1 tablespoon sunflower oil

4 tablespoons sweetcorn kernels, fresh or frozen (and defrosted)

6 cherry tomatoes, diced

2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves

zest of 1 lime

4 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese

heat the butter in a pan, add the shallots; cook for 10 minutes, covered. add the pumpkin, sweetcorn and the stock. bring to simmering point, reduce the heat and gently cook, partially covered, for 30-35 minutes (if you are using roasted pumpkin you only need to cook the soup for an additional 5 minutes).

for the salsa, heat the butter and oil together. when sizzling, add the sweetcorn for 7-8 minutes. cool; mix with the other salsa ingredients.

whiz the soup in a blender until smooth, adding extra stock/water if you want a thinner texture. reheat, adding the lime juice and seasoning. ladle into warm bowls; add a spoonful of the salsa to each one.