Pumpkin and bacon soup

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Everybody loves carving jack-o-lanterns at Halloween, but what else can you do with pumpkins? This recipe takes the simple flavour of pumpkin and pairs it with higher welfare RSPCA Assured bacon for a delicious autumnal treat.

  • 1kg cooking pumpkin, unpeeled
  • 4 small pumpkins, to serve (if you’re not eating the flesh, small carving pumpkins will be fine)
  • 1 onion, chopped into quarters
  • 3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 3 sprigs rosemary
  • 125g RSPCA Assured pancetta or smoked bacon pieces
  • 400ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • 250ml RSPCA Assured milk
  • Cream or feta cheese to serve
  • Oil for drizzling
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cut the tops off the small pumpkins and set aside. Remove the seeds and fibres from the middle of each and discard. Using a sharp knife and a spoon, carefully hollow them out. These will be used as bowls, and can be raw or baked. To cook them, bake with their lids on at 200°C/ fan 180°C/ gas mark 6 for 20 to 25 minutes and drizzled with a little olive oil.
  • Meanwhile, scoop out the flesh and roughly chop the cooking pumpkin into 3cm slices. Save some pumpkin seeds and toast these on a baking tray to use later.
  • Heat the oven to 200°C/ fan 180°C/ gas mark 6. Put the pumpkin pieces on a baking tray with the onion, garlic and rosemary, and drizzle with oil.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, then add the bacon or pancetta (keep this separate from the pumpkin on the tray). Bake for a further 20 minutes until the pumpkin is soft inside and brown around the edge.
  • Set the bacon and rosemary aside. Remove the pumpkin and garlic skin and then add it, along with the onion to a large pan or food processor.
  • Pour in the stock and RSPCA Assured milk and blend until smooth.
  • To serve, fill the hollowed-out pumpkins with soup.
  • Swirl over a little cream or crumble on some feta and scatter with the bacon or pancetta, toasted pumpkin seeds and rosemary.

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