Many years ago (some time in the early 1990s) we had a holiday in Kenya, spending part of the time on safari in the Tsavo game reserve and part of the time at a beach resort just north of Mombasa. We ate some interesting food in Kenya. I remember eating Eland steak. I remember that practically every meal was served with green beans and turned potatoes (you know, ones that have been carved into perfect elliptical shapes). I also remember a really fabulous soup, made with tomatoes and pumpkin, and it is this soup that has inspired my post today - I am attempting to make something a bit like it.
Oh, and the "Jambo Bwana" thing? Well, the resident entertainer at our hotel was a rather portly "musician" inappropriately called Slim Ali, whose signature tune was the ubiquitous song "Jambo Bwana". It went: "Jambo! Jambo Bwana. Habari ga ni? Mzuri sana" (etc). This is Swahili for "Hello! Hello sir, how are you? Very well" - hardly inspiring lyrics I think, but memorable, as you can see!
Well anyway, my soup began with making some nice chicken stock, using the carcass of a chicken we had eaten roasted the previous day.
Then I roasted a Butternut squash (I didn't have a pumpkin), smothered in olive oil and black pepper.
When the squash was cooked, I scraped the flesh off the skins, which I discarded.
After about 40 minutes in the oven (at 180C) the tomatoes had completely fallen and everything had nice brown edges. Roasting the tomatoes concentrates the flavour.
Allowing the tomatoes a short while to cool a bit, I passed them through our trusty mouli-legumes, which removed the skins and seeds, leaving a rich fragrant pulp.
Now it was just a case of putting all these ingredients together. Into the blender went stock, tomato pulp and Butternut squash flesh. They were all cooked already, so it was only necessary to zuzz them up together to mix them thoroughly and to achieve a nice smooth texture. The blended mixture was tipped into a pan, and at the appropriate moment heated up and served with some crusty home-made bread. Et Voila! Soup...
Well, I'm not really sure how close this soup was to that which we had all those years ago in Kenya, but I think it was probably very similar. It was simultaneously sweet from the squash and deeply savoury from the chicken stock, but the dominant flavour was definitely the tangy tomato.
Siwezi kusema kiswahili. Kwaheri!