Smokey Pumpkin Soup

1. Cut the pumpkin in quarters. Scoop out the seeds and stringy fibers. Separate the seeds from the fibers, and save the seeds for roasting, if desired. Cut the remaining pumpkin into small wedges and add to a baking tray.

2. Mix the salt and spices together. Pour the olive oil onto the pumpkin wedges then rub the salt, spice mix all over. We find it easiest to get our hands dirty at this stage! Pop the pumpkin in the oven for around 50 mins at 200o, or until the squash has softened and has changed colour.

3. Meanwhile melt some butter in a big saucepan and fry the onion, garlic and chopped bacon for around 5 minutes. We’ve used Droitwich Salt-Smoked bacon. The bacon is a celebration of all things local from the quality farm where the pigs roam free, to top class butchery by the experts at Buxton Butchers of Webbs. The bacon has a unique smoked taste, but if you’re unable to get hold of a packet, choose a good quality smoked bacon from your own butchers.

4. Once the pumpkin is cooked, let it cool, and then separate the pumpkin flesh from the skin. Add the pumpkin flesh to the pan with the onion mix, stock and cider and the orange zest. Bring to the boil, then simmer gently.

5. Use a hand blender to make the soup nice and smooth. Once blended stir in the brown sugar, and a few good shakes of Worcestershire Sauce. Keep the soup simmering for a good 10 minutes, tasting regularly to add more Worcestershire Sauce if required.

6. Finally add a generous handful of smoked cheese and stir until melted.

7. Divide the soup into bowls and drizzle with some cream, a sprinkling of grated cheese and some chopped parsley.