Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Will work for soup

I've been working rather a lot lately, its not made me very fun to be around.  Unless I'm in a slightly hysterical over-tired phase, then my jokes are excellent.  The down side to all this is that I'm living off cereal and tea, not much chance to tingle my taste buds and report back to you.  The upside to my heavy work schedule is that I've been making a hell of a lot of soup.  Now the temperature has plummeted (apparently its going to snow next Tuesday according to Mrs C from number 25) were are getting through 3 huge pots everyday.  When lunch service has been hectic there is something quite calming about pottering around the kitchen concocting delicious soups.
This soup I made today and has a special place in my heart.  And my tummy. 

Roast Butternut Squash Soup

This recipe is adapted from both Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and my darling Sous Chef Nayana (who told me about the parmesan secret).  Hugh F-W notes that this soup could be made from roast chicken leftovers (stock, roasted onions and squash).  A great idea and carbon foot friendly too.

I've been mucking about with butternut squash soup for years, adding chilli for a spicy kick, dropping in cumin for earthy flavours - even melting through coconut milk for that taste of Asia.  This soup is different because it really lets the vegetable live up to its name - buttery and nutty with a savory kick from the parmesan.  Stripped back and pared down, this soup makes you happy.

2 medium to large butternut squash
2 white onions
5 cloves of garlic
2 sticks of celery - roughly chopped (optional)
1 large potato, peeled
chicken stock
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
double cream
small knob of butter
1 tbsp of grated parmesan
fresh nutmeg (optional)
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 180c/350F/gas 4.

Cut the squashes in half, scoop out the seeds and cut each half into four or five large chunks.  Peel and quarter the onions leaving the roots intact to they hold together while roasting. Place everything into a large roasting tray adding the garlic whole (and not peeled) so they are like soft garliky caramel.  Drizzle olive oil over the whole tray and season with salt, pepper and the dried herbs.  Place in the middle of the oven and roast for around 45 minutes until the squash and onions are soft and golden.  Take out the oven and once cool enough squeeze the garlic out of their papery skins.

Put a large pot on the stove and set on a medium heat, add the butter and when melted add the celery.  Tip the whole roasting tray into the pot and mix around with celery and butter.  Chop the potato into 6 and add to the pot along with enough chicken stock to cover the vegetables.  Simmer on a medium heat with the lid on for half and hour.  Check that the potatoes are cooked through and add a splash of double cream.  Take off the heat and blend until really smooth, take your time - this soup has to be silky.  Sprinkle in the parmesan, blend some more and taste before seasoning.  Nutmeg is delicious with squash so a modest grating is a lovely addition.

Now back to work...


  1. oh i'm crazy for any kind of soup... I also have been souptastic for the past week, started with a fennel soup and ended with a Thai coconut soup!... love the pictures by the way!

  2. Thanks Dom, saving up for an SLR but having to rely on my iPhone at the moment for photos so nice to hear good feedback. Loving your soup ideas, I've never had fennel soup - must try it! Checked out your blog too, your kitchen is lush!

  3. Your soup looks delicious! I have to add you as a regular stop on my blog route! I haven't been to visit for a while and I'll be back! LOL!!! I'm fairly new to blogging and have been really enjoying myself. If you'd like to "visit" me in New England I love company, and new Followers are very exciting!

  4. Keep it up! Seriously envious of where you live, New England is my idea of heaven.

  5. This recipe looks delish. I'm definitely going to give it a go this week.

    Emily x