Gordon warms up with a starter course of festive pumpkin soup on Christmas with Gordon
Preheat oven to 190°C/gas mark 5. First, cut the pumpkin in half horizontally and remove the seeds (reserve the seeds as they can be cleaned and roasted later). Score the pumpkin flesh using a small sharp knife and season with salt and pepper. Rub the pumpkin flesh with the cut garlic halves, then lay the rosemary sprigs and garlic pieces in the centre of each half. Drizzle both pumpkin halves with a little olive oil.
Put the pumpkin halves in large roasting trays and roast for 1-1½ hours, or until tender. (The exact cooking time will vary based on differences in oven temperature and the variety, shape, density and thickness of the pumpkin). The pumpkin is ready when you can effortlessly slip a knife into the thickest part of the flesh. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Once cooled, remove the rosemary and garlic from the pumpkin and reserve the garlic. Scoop out the pumpkin flesh and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and stir frequently for 5-6 minutes until translucent but not browned. Scoop out 2-3 cloves of the reserved roasted garlic and add to the pan along with a touch of seasoning and pinch of grated nutmeg. Continue to sauté for a further 1-2 minutes. Add the pumpkin flesh to the pan along with the grated parmesan and stir together.
Pour in the ham stock, bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes. Stir in the double cream and heat for a further minute. In several batches, ladle the soup into a blender and blend until smooth. Add the butter and blitz again until you reach a rich, velvety smooth texture. Pour the soup into a clean pan to reheat.
For the garnish, heat a tablespoon of oil in a frying pan until hot and then add the mushrooms. Fry over a high heat for a few minutes until the moisture released from the mushrooms has cooked off and the pan is quite dry. Season the mushrooms and remove the pan from the heat.
Spoon the sautéed mushrooms into the middle of each serving bowl and top with parmesan shavings. Carefully pour the hot soup around the mushrooms and serve immediately.
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