June harvest | Garden-to-table: Leek, pumpkin & ricotta soup recipe

This week we’ve got a delicious recipe from Jen Pomeroy of The Modern Mess.

This gorgeous June recipe from Jen Pomeroy of The Modern Mess. Jen is a chef and very clever recipe developer. The Modern Mess is her seasonal recipe subscription

The Modern Mess is incredible. So delicious, easily adaptable for seasonality and dietary requirements – and will save you time and money. With Jen’s cheffing skills, you’re also bound to learn a thing or two in the kitchen that you didn’t know before! 

Jen has been developing a piece of empty land into a large and abundant edible garden, since moving to a new home in North Canterbury from the city 16 months ago. It’s worth following along on Instagram (@the.modern.mess) to see the transformation. 

In Jen’s soup recipe below, she has focussed on making the humble leek the hero. Leeks are available from April – October (depending on your location). This is the perfect meal for a cold June day!

But first, some tips on in-season produce this month...

Vegetable garden harvest

June — Harvest

An early winter harvest is still plentiful, with apples and pears still ripe for picking, lots of citrus, as well as tamarillos.

Rhubarb is ready for stewing and baking with. Winter greens like rocket, kale and spinach are great meal fillers. And avocados are coming back into season.

June — In season, in store

In season, in store In reality, despite our best efforts, not many of us can grow everything we need in the vegetable garden. Time, space, knowledge, climate & patience are all factors. If you can, find a local grower and buy the fresh seasonal produce you need. Here’s a list of what you should be able to find at your local produce store or supermarket for a reasonable price this month:

Apples, Broccoli, Carrots, Cauliflower, Kiwifruit, Leeks, Lemons, Mandarins, Onions, Orange, Pears, Potatoes, Pumpkin

Leeks: by Jen Pomeroy.

  • Currently in season and are usually around until spring. They take between 6-12 months to grow. You can pick them as baby leeks too.
  • Leeks make a great base to braises, sauces and soups. They are also delicious sautéed, fried until crispy, braised, steamed and charred. And they love a good vinaigrette. They go well with cured meat, chicken, fish, herbs, dairy, potatoes and cheese. Next time you make a cheese sauce, try sweating down a leek in the base. So good!
  • Clean well before use. Remove the outer layer if needed. Keep the root intact and split the leek down the middle and fan out the layers. Wash well in between each layer and shake to dry. The green tops need a little more cooking than the white ends so save them for soup or braises.
Leek, pumpkin, ricotta soup. Modern mess

Recipe | Leek, pumpkin & ricotta soup – with leek topping

Simple and delicious! Ricotta and pumpkin are a classic combination but the leek really makes it. I just added the raw pumpkin into the soup and simmered it for 20-30 minutes but if you find it easier to roast in large chunks and then remove the skin after then go for it. Just increase the weight of the pumpkin (raw) to 1.2kg. The crispy leek topping is a great wee level up. Add the green part of the leek into the soup and save some ricotta to dollop on top too. If you’re skipping the topping, use the full tub of ricotta in the soup.



2 T olive oil and a knob of butter

1 large leek split, cleaned and sliced – use green bit too

1 bulb garlic top trimmed

1 kg pumpkin chopped (peeled and de-seeded weight)

1 tsp honey

1 bay leaf

5-6 cups water or stock

200 g ricotta

Crispy leek topping

1 large leek, use the clean green bit in the soup above

4 T olive oil

50g ricotta



Clean the leeks by splitting middle into quarters leaving the root end attached and washing out the dirt. Shake dry and then slice.

Heat the oil and butter in a large pot and add in the chopped leekand a good pinch of salt and cook until nice and soft while you prep the other ingredients. A lid helps here to steam the leek at the same time.

Add in the chopped pumpkin, water, the garlic bulb and bay leaf. Bring to the boil. Simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the pumpkin and garlic is nice and soft.

Remove the garlic and squeeze out the soft cloves and add it back in, discarding the skin.

Add in the ricotta and honey. Then either blend with a stick blender or transfer to a blender and blend in batches until smooth. Add more water or stock if needed to get to your preferred consistency.

Season to taste.

Crispy leek topping

Cut the remaining leek into 10 cm pieces and slice finely lengthways.

Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium high heat and add in the leek, cook until caramelised in places and the leek is soft.

Drain on to a paper towel and season with salt.

To serve

Spoon the hot soup into bowls and top with a dollop of ricotta and the leeks. Finish with a grind of black pepper and serve with crusty bread.