I mentioned yesterday that there are a handful of cookery writers that I always trust to deliver: Jamie Oliver, The Hairy Bikers, and Nigella Lawson chief among them. I have never had a disappointing result with any of their recipes.
This is one of Jamie Oliver’s, one of the first things I ever made from a recipe book and, having found how easy it was to pack in great flavour using just a few good ingredients, it helped to get me hooked on cooking.
Perfect for chilly autumn evenings, this soup is rich, warming and delicious.
Why this picture? All will become clear, but pictures of soup aren’t very interesting!
1 large butternut squash (approximately 1kg), peeled, deseeded and cut into 2 cm cubes
3 or 4 eating apples, peeled, cored and cut into segments
1 large onion, roughly chopped
2 fresh chillies, red or green, halved and de-seeded
4 garlic cloves, unpeeled and left whole, lightly bashed
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp of coriander seeds
a few sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves picked and finely chopped
800ml vegetable stock
1 tsp fish sauce
150ml single cream
To serve: pumpkin oil (optional), crusty bread, toasted squash seeds
Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/Gas 6
Prepare all the ingredients, it is a good idea to keep the seeds from the squash. You can rinse the pulp off them, drizzle them lightly with oil, add a pinch of cayenne pepper and roast them for ten minutes at 200C. They make a wonderful topping for this soup, adding crunch and flavour.
Be sure to leave the skin of the garlic intact, when you bash the cloves do so lightly enough to just loosen the skins.
Lay the squash, apple, onion, chillies and garlic on a large roasting tray in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and scatter the chopped rosemary and coriander seeds all over. Mix everything together with your hands so that everything is coated in oil and the seasonings are evenly distributed. Your tray should look like this:
Roast in the centre of the oven for 45 minutes until everything is soft, dark, intensely aromatic and just starting to caramelise. Some of the onion and chilli may have gone very dark and stuck to the tray – that’s good, there’s lots of flavour there! Your tray will now look like this:
Tip everything into a large pan, and with a metal spatula scrape all the caramelised matter off the roasting tray and add that to the pan as well. Make up the vegetable stock, add the fish sauce to it and pour on top of the roasted vegetables. Stir well and bring to the boil, simmer for five minutes then turn off the heat and – using a stick blender – blitz to a smooth soup. If you need to add a little more liquid then go ahead. Put back on to the heat and simmer for a further five minutes, then check and correct the seasoning. Now add the cream and stir well until it is completely distributed.
Serve topped with toasted squash seeds, some crusty bread, and – if you have it – a few drops of pumpkin oil.