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A good squash is your best bet for this substantial seasonal soup, so forget those grown-for-looks-not-flavour orange pumpkins
It’s that time of year when the cookery writer’s thoughts turn, somewhat reluctantly, to pumpkins. Reluctantly because there’s only one reason an editor suggests a pumpkin recipe in October, and that’s a well-meaning, but ultimately doomed attempt to help readers “make the most” of their Halloween jack o’lanterns.
Unfortunately, as I discovered early in life with an almost inedible pumpkin crumble, the varieties that are usually sold for carving are grown for their looks, rather than taste, and have flesh so bland that they should really be classed as ornamental to distinguish them from the ones actually worth eating. The latter, in my opinion, include the crown prince, kabocha, kuri and turban squash, all of which also make handsome decorations. They are common in farm shops, markets and greengrocers (I often find them in Asian and African grocers near me) at this time of year, while if you’re not planning to carve it, butternut squash can be picked up just about anywhere. Look for something heavy for its size, a quality that suggests a dense interior full of flavour, though even if you’re staring despondently at the stringy guts of a cartoon pumpkin, don’t despair – we’ve got this. If the worst comes to the worst, just add more cheese.