Orange Soup with Goat Cheese
There is something about thick/creamy orange-colored soups that make them especially popular in my family. Maybe its the fact that a bright orange color is a great mood setter, or my husband’s love for sweet potatoes (and mine for pumpkins) or something else. The fact is, that, at least twice a month, I find myself preparing an orange-colored soup. They can be lighter in summer and heavier/thicker in winter. This time I wanted to make something original and “play” a bit with the ingredients.
Here’s the logic for the ingredients: goat cheese is a great companion for pumpkin and sweet potato, as its piquancy combines well with their natural sweetness. Additionally acidity and aroma of oranges provides a great complement/contradiction to a velvety sweet pumpkin taste. All that’s remaining is to add some low-fat cream to balance (and subdue) all the flavors and we’re getting a very original, rich winter-type soup with great aroma and substance. It is thick, but, thanks to orange notes, doesn’t feel heavy at all.
(For 2-2.5 liters of soup)
1 Cucurbita moschata pumpkin (or 1.5 kgs of ordinary pumpkin)
1 medium-size carrot
1 medium-size sweet potato
1 small onion
1 trunk of leek
30 gr. butter
3 branches of thyme
250 gr. low fat cream
100 gr. young white goat cheese
1. Cut the onion into large cubes. Cut the leek trunk into rings approx. 0.5 cms wide. Peel the carrots and the sweet potato and cut into rings (or, if they are large, cut the rings further in halves). Cut the pumpkin into small cubes.
2. Take a pan with a thick bottom and melt/dissolve the butter. Then fry the onion until transparent.
3. Add the leek and fry for a couple of more minutes, while stirring.
4. Gradually add the carrots, sweet potato and pumpkin, stirring after each addition. Fry the vegetables for 5 minutes and then pour in some water (the goal is to cover the vegetables with water).
5. Add the thyme and bring to boiling. Cover with the lid and leave on low heat until the vegetables are cooked (25-30 minutes).
6. Remove the thyme and turn into a puree with a blender.
7. Cut the cheese into large pieces and add it into the puree. Using the blender, turn again into a uniform substance.
8. Grate the orange zest and squeeze the juice from the oranges. Add the zest to the soup.
9. Now its time to add the orange juice. Personally, I am a big fan of strong flavors, so I feel that the juice from 2 oranges is exactly the right amount. For those preparing this for the first time I would recommend adding half of the juice, stirring and tasting to decide if the other half is needed.
10. Stir, add the cream and stir again into a uniform soup. Add salt.
11. Warm the soup over the heat (just bring it to boiling) and you’re ready to go.
I would letting the soup “rest” for a couple of hours. Based on my experience, this has a very positive impact on the flavor.
As a serving suggestion, decorate with thyme leaves and/or fried pumpkin seeds (see the photo above).