While the pumpkin is roasting, finish the prep.
Mince the shallots
Slice the apples. I have retained the peel but you may remove them if you wish. I have used a red apple but you could instead add a Granny Smith or tart green apple. This would make the hue of the soup lighter, but would change the flavour slightly by reducing the sweetness.
Keep the spice powders ready
Toast the pistachio nuts on a hot pan for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently so that they do not burn.
Extract the arils from the pomegranate and set aside in the fridge till required to serve.
Squeeze orange juice and crush and shred a few mint leaves when ready to serve the soup.
Heat Olive oil in a pan. Add fennel seeds and sauté for 10secs.
Crush the garlic cloves and add them whole, sautéing till they begin to discolour.
Add the red chilli, sauté for 10 secs. If you want to reduce the 'heat' of the soup, omit the chilli.
Add the minced shallots, sauté for about 3 minutes till they are nicely fried.
Add the spices - turmeric, chilli powder, clove, cinnamon and coriander powder. Stir them into the shallots.
Add the apple slices, stir and sauté for 2 minutes.
Add the roasted pumpkin slices. Stir
Sauté for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add the stock or water if using. Stir.
Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to allow the soup to simmer for 25 minutes.
Turn off the stove and transfer the soup to another vessel to cool
Coarsely puree the soup. It is best to do this in batches when the soup has cooled down, as otherwise it may splash out of the processor. I have learnt this from bitter experience and from trying to remove the stains of turmeric and chilli from the walls and the kitchen counter!
When ready to serve, reheat the soup, taste for salt and add the crushed shredded mint leaves or shredded parsley sprigs.
Serve hot, garnished with crushed toasted pistachio nuts and pomegranate arils. Drizzle a little orange juice on each serving.