Pumpkin soup and Pinot Noir

For me this is one of life’s most satisfying combinations. The rustic flavours and hint of spice in pumpkin soup (recipe below) combine perfectly with the earthy aromas of Pinot Noir!

Domaine Drouhin, Cuvée Laurène Pinot Noir 2008 is rich with a hint of sweet plums and red berries. It is a little young and could benefit from some bottle age, but we simply couldn’t resist drinking it now. A delicious treat!

The 2007 vintage is available for £34 from Berry Bros & Rudd, but if you fancy something a little cheaper, try the Palataia Pinot Noir 2010, £8.99 from Marks and Spencer. For such a young wine, it is surprisingly complex and would go excellently with a variety of dishes from roast beef, to mushroom risotto or pumpkin soup. This red wine is actually from Germany which, unbeknown to most, produces excellent quality Pinot Noir (and more than Australia, New Zealand and Chile combined), hence why it performed so well in last year’s International Pinot Noir tasting.

Pumpkin soup
(adapted from Elisabeth Lambert Ortiz’ Caribbean Cooking)

Ingredients (serves 6-8)
50g butter
2 large onions, finely chopped
½ green pepper, sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 medium pumpkin (1kg)
1l chicken stock
Salt and black pepper
Dash hot pepper sauce
Sprinkling ground nutmeg
Crusty bread to serve

Method
1. Heat the butter in a large saucepan and cook the onions and green pepper until soft
2. Unless you plan on making a face from the pumpkin for Halloween, prepare it as you would a melon – cut into segments, scoop the seeds and string out, and dice the segments into cubes
3. Add the pumpkin, garlic and stock to the onions, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 45 minutes
4. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly, then blitz in an electric blender
5. Return to the saucepan, season with salt, black pepper and hot pepper sauce, and heat through thoroughly
6. To serve, sprinkle each bowl with nutmeg and enjoy with chunks of crusty bread

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