soup is an important part of the daily meal, most people eat soup as part of at least one meal a day. It took me a while to really understand this need for 'soup', coming from a british upbringing of meat and two veg and soup was a lunchtime meal or something to eat when ill (on the most part). Here you are more likely to have soup and then your main course will be meat or fish with a 'side' of potatoes or rice and often without vegetables or minimal vegetables as your soup is kind of your vegetable side. So here there is a much larger range of soups produced, normally always homemade (no heinz tomato soup here).
Since coming to live in portugal, I have started making soup and for someone who isnt a very good or willing cook, they are pretty good. This is pretty much my favourite recipe for Pumpkin Soup or Sopa de Abobora, but what I like about this soup is that it isnt sweet and sugary like some pumpkin soups but garlicy and flavourful.
Heres what you need:
600g pumpkin, chopped into cubes
Chicken stock cube
1 1/2 litre of water
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped into medium sized pieces
1 large garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped or crushed
1 large onion, chopped
Olive oil for frying
Pinch of salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste, I like it a little peppery.
In a large heavy pan, heat some olive oil, add the onion and fry until almost soft, then add the garlic and fry for a minute, do not allow to burn.
Turn the heat very low and cover, leave for about 10 minutes until it is all soft.
Add the carrots, pumpkin, potatoes, stock cube and water, mix all together and bring to a boil.
Mix the salt and pepper and lower the heat to a simmer.
Leave to cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are soft (approximately an hour).
You may need to add more water if the soup is getting too low.
Once all cooked, blend the soup to a smooth consistency and taste, add more salt or pepper as you like. When serving, adding a dash of cream makes it a dream!
My kids love this soup and it never lasts long in our house, try it and let me know what you think.