Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Soup and Soldiers Night – Pumpkin Kumara Soup

I wish I had made this realization about10 or 15 years ago, but oh well, such is life. Yesterday I decided to leave writing my blog post til the last few minutes at the end of the day, when normally I will take a 15 minutes break in the morning to write, and then finish it up at lunch time. It turns out that my muse must be on a strict schedule – I was coming up with great ideas all morning, thinking that I’d remember them and just throw it all down on paper later. Muse said nope, no way, ain’t hap’nin. I stared at my screen for the full block of 15 minutes that I had allotted myself for writing, slightly drooling like an idiot. I got nuthin’.

I can only imagine how much easier it would have been to write all those papers in college and grad school if I had known that my muse likes the before-lunch timeslot!

Back to the issue at hand - soup and soldiers. Now, I grew up with ‘Soup and Sandwich’ night, but when I met Jonno, I was introduced to the beautiful thing called “soldiers” – toast cut into four thing strips. Perfect for soup dunking! Who needs to go through the extra steps of making something to go in a sandwich when all that does is reduce the amount of soup you eat. Unless it’s bad soup, then it’s your moral obligation to eat something with it that will cover up the bad soup taste. And you do have to eat your soup, otherwise the Boogie Man will get you, right? Guys, right?

The view out of the office window, depressing and gross.
The weather since Sunday has been absolutely horrid, with all kinds of gross wet stuff falling from the sky. In our little Hataitai valley close to sea level, we’ve only gotten rain and a pile-up of sleet, while pretty much everywhere else in Wellington and the Hutt Valley has gotten snow. The in-laws called on Sunday night crowing about the four inches they had on their lawn out in the Hutt.

Crappy weather = hot soup night. Power flickering while shopping at PacNSave and also cooking dinner = husband prepares Emergency Kit, complete with beer and chocolate, just in case it’s a real emergency. Priorities, people!

Torches, batteries, matches, candles, chocolate and beer.  The Complete Emergency Kit!

Soup! This is adapted from Mrs. Cake’s recipe, who got it from Alison and Simon Holst's Very Easy Vegetarian Cookbook.

Soften up an onion or two and some garlic. I’m pretty sure this is only to get your kitchen smelling good so that you can tolerate staying in your kitchen for a little while longer.

Get your spices together: curry powder, coriander, chilli powder.

Pretty spices!
Add them to onions and garlic once they’re translucent. Chop kumara and pumpkin.

Drain and rinse a can of lentils and put them in a bowl of hothot water to soak and soften. Mix up 4 cups of chicken stock with your sword. What, you don’t have a sword handy? Maybe a nice spear?

Throw it all in with your spicy onion/garlic mix and bring it to a boil. Let it simmer for 15 minutes, or until the pumpkin is easily mashed with a spoon. Add a heaping big spoonful or two of peanut butter and mix it in a bit with the rest of the soupness. Souperness. Souper!

Puree the heck out of it with a hand blender or mixer. Try not to make a mess! And please for the love of cheese, turn off the power switch and unplug your hand blender after you’ve finished with it, because it’s way too easy to shred yourself with those ninja blades. I might know from experience. I might have had to throw away a batch of pie crust I was trying to pulse because blood may have somehow gotten into it. Maybe.

Add your drained and bathed lentils. Go make your soldiers and let the lentils soften up a little more in the soup.

Now serve it up quick and get out of the kitchen! Go find the warmth!

Here's the printable on Tasty Kitchen.
Pumpin Kumara Soup

  • 250-350g pumpkin
  • 1 large kumara 
  • 1 tin lentils (can also use Cannellini beans or Kidney beans)
  • 4 cups chicken stock 
  • 2 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 onion
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp curry powder
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp salt

1. Finely chop the onion and garlic.

2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add onion and garlic and cook over low heat until soft and translucent. Add the spices and stir in the stock.

3. Drain and rinse the lentils, and then leave to soak in a bowl of hot water.

4. Chop the kumara and pumpkin and add to the saucepan.  Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes or until the pumpkin is mashable.

5. Add the peanut butter.  Puree with a hand blender until smooth.

6. Add the lentils.  Let the soup simmer on low while you make the soldiers.

7. Serve warm!  The soup also keeps well for a few days in the fridge.


  1. My brother's girlfriend is from the States (and lives in Welly!) and didn't know about soldiers until she got here either. A life without soldiers is a life half lived so you're lucky you came here ;P

  2. Thank you for including a comment about "soup and soldiers". I am reading the book, A Traitor to Memory. It mentions them and had no idea what was meant by "soldiers". I have actually made them but never knew they were called "soldiers". Making them just seemed logical to me. Ok! So they are not my invention. When reading a British novel it sometimes seems English is almost two different languages. It is enjoyable if the definitions can be found. I this instance I have you to thank. The soup seems interesting. I will try it!
    Sincerely, Frances


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