k Spiced roasted butternut squash soup (served two ways) k
This winter soup is one of my favourites and I always get glowing compliments from this recipe – it’s one that I love to use in my repertoire for Christmas/winter parties where I like to serve it in large shot glasses…everyone loves this! And it’s particularly great for this time of year as it can be easily prepared and cooked in advance saving you any stress.
Although butternut squash are available all year, they are right in season now. The gorgeous sweet orange flesh develops a deeper colour and richer flavour once roasted.
Also by roasting them first you get the added bonus of not having to removing the tough skin which can be a little tricky – when they are cooked you simply scoop out the soft flesh and blitz with all the other cooked vegetables. You need to generously grate over fresh nutmeg, sprinkle with cumin seeds and a good glug of olive oil – I also put the carrots and rosemary into the baking tray, it fills the kitchen with the most delicious aroma!
I often serve this recipe two ways; as mentioned before in over sized shot glasses with crostini style ciabatta bread sticks which are oven baked with fresh thyme, garlic and parmesan cheese – they are like a crunchy toast solider perfect for dipping into the soup.
The other serving suggestion is more of a Middle Eastern vibe – great if you are serving larger bowls to make it more of a substantial meal. I like to swirl cashew cream (or coconut cream is also lovely), then a scattering of toasted pumpkin seeds, chopped pistachios and pomegranate seeds – it looks so vibrant and you elevate this soup to an exciting, wonderfully textured and slightly more healthy option.
Which ever way you choice to serve this gorgeous soup you get the most satisfying heat that is warming not ‘hot’ that makes your mouth glow rather than making your tongue explode. It’s bursting with complex fragrant notes of spice giving a winter warming zing that your taste buds will adore.
(Makes 4 bowls or 12 large shot glasses)
2 medium butternut squash (or one large one)
2-3 carrots – peeled but kept whole
Large sprig fresh rosemary
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 ½ pints good quality vegetable broth (or chicken stock)
1 g butter (or 1 tablespoon olive oil if vegan)
1 medium onion – diced
2 sticks celery – chopped
1 inch root ginger – grated
Small handful fresh coriander
1 teaspoon chilli flakes (optional for added kick)
Fresh ground pepper
- Pre-heat the oven to about 180 degrees
- Cut the squash lengthways scoop out the seeds with a metal spoon and throw away, place the squash and whole carrots in a deep baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Season each squash half with salt, freshly grated nutmeg and cumin seeds. Scatter sprigs of fresh rosemary over the carrots.
- Pour 100ml water around the squash and carrots then roast in the oven for around 40-50 minutes basting occasionally until the squash are very tender. Allow to cool.
- Now melt the butter in a large pan and add the onion, celery and grated ginger. Cook for 5-10 minutes on a medium heat until the onions are translucent and soft.
- Add the stock, bring to the boil then partially cover and simmer for about 20 minutes until the vegetables are tender
- When cool enough to handle scoop the flesh from the squash and add to the pan along with the carrots.
- Simmer gently for around five minutes, then blitz with a hand blender or liquidiser until nice and smooth. If it’s too thick add a couple of tbsp milk or more water.
- Taste for seasoning – if you want an additional kick add some chilli flakes
Ciabatta bread sticks – slice a bread loaf into long sticks, rub with garlic cloves and drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle over grated parmesan and sprigs of thyme. Bake in 160 degree oven for 15 minutes until golden and crunchy. They keep for days.
Cashew cream or coconut cream, fresh pomegranate seeds, toasted pumpkin seeds, pistachios and coriander leaves
* Storage cover and keep in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. TO FREEZE – cool the soup and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for 8 hours or overnight in the fridge.