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Put all the vegetables and seasonings into a large pan and add 2.75 litres water – this is to allow for some of the liquid to evaporate during cooking.
Place over medium-high heat with the lid on loosely so that it comes to a boil more quickly. Once it has boiled, reduce the heat, take off the lid and simmer for 15–20 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, discarding the solids, then use as required.
Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat, add the onion and garlic, then the paprika and coriander. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until the onion has softened.
Add the potatoes and pumpkin. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until the potatoes start to brown.
Pour in the stock, cover the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10–12 minutes until the potatoes and pumpkin are tender. Let cool slightly before pouring into a blender and blending in batches until smooth.
Return the soup to the pan over low heat and stir in the cream (if using). Heat through for 1 minute, then season to taste with pepper.