Curried pumpkin and swede soup with feta and caramelized red onion

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Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in

Vegetables: The new food heroes


By Peter Gordon

Published 2007

  • About

If there’s one thing all us New Zealanders can make it’s pumpkin soup. The pumpkins we grow there are firm, thick-fleshed and full of flavour. Recently, the pumpkins available here in the UK have improved enormously – from thin-fleshed watery-flavoured ones to robust hearty beasts. If you can’t find a good pumpkin, then butternut squash is a great alternative. Cooking the red onion garnish with pomegranate molasses creates an astringent sweet accompaniment that offsets the rich soup – it’s very simple but works wonderfully I’m usually no fan of ready-made curry powder, but here I’m happy to use it.


  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1 white-fleshed onion, sliced
  • tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ leek, sliced and well rinsed to remove any grit
  • 3 tablespoons mirin (or 2 tablespoons caster sugar)
  • 400 g peeled and diced pumpkin flesh
  • 400 g peeled and diced swede flesh
  • teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 3 teaspoons curry powder (mild or spicy, it’s up to you)
  • 900 ml vegetable stock (although water will suffice)
  • 6 tablespoons double cream
  • 125 ml thick plain yoghurt
  • 150 g feta cheese, crumbled

For the Caramelized Red Onion

  • tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses (or use balsamic vinegar)


In a large saucepan, sauté the sliced red and white onions in the olive oil until they begin to caramelize, stirring often.

Add the leek and sauté for a few minutes more to soften it. Add the mirin and bring to the boil, then cook to evaporate it. Add the pumpkin, swede, turmeric, curry powder and a few pinches of salt, then cook for 2 minutes while stirring.

Add the vegetable stock or water and bring to the boil, then cover with a lid and simmer for 30 minutes, until the pumpkin and swede are cooked.

Meanwhile, make the caramelized red onion: heat the oil in a small pan and sauté the chopped red onion until caramelized, stirring often. Add the pomegranate molasses and cook to evaporate it off, then take off the heat.

Once the pumpkin is cooked, add the cream and yoghurt to the soup, and bring it to a gentle boil.

To Serve

Mix half the feta into the soup before ladling into soup bowls, spoon a little of the onion mixture on top and then add the remaining feta.