Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

The pumpkins you get in England tend to be oversized, fibrous, tasteless things, suitable for making Jack-o-Lanterns; but very little else. The more modestly sized butternut squash contains a lot more flavour. Your mileage may vary in other countries: I’ve had perfectly edible pumpkin just across the channel, as well as across the Atlantic, so it can’t be all that bad. I could make the soup simply by peeling, chopping up and simmering the squash, but I don’t think that brings out the flavour the way roasting does. (And besides, the flat is cold.)

  1. Get the oven going at 200C
  2. Cut up a butternut squash lengthways into wedges – you will need a sharp heavy knife, and the vegetable is a slippery treacherous one – so take care when doing this – my 600g pumpkin yields 11 wedges, but I could have just chopped it up into six pieces
  3. Put the wedges into a roasting tin, rub them in olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt – you could also add a grind of pepper and consider some tough woody herbs
  4. It’ll need about 40 – 60 minutes, so do the washing up or something – they’ll be done when they’ve gone dark, are singing to themselves and smelling rather good
  5. Chop an onion finely and fry with a little butter in a saucepan or pot big enough to hold the finished product, along with some of the following (tonight I’m adding options 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5)
    • a knob of ginger, grated
    • a couple of cloves of garlic
    • a dried bay leaf
    • four cloves
    • a vigorous grinding of black pepper
    • some sage leaves (if you must)
    • chilli flakes or paprika
    • half a teaspoon of Thai red curry paste (Mae Ploy brand is good)
    • half a teaspoon of curry powder
  6. Pour over a litre of stock and bring to a simmer (I’m using a frozen tupper of some veg stock I made a few weeks ago, which is why there’s an iceberg in the saucepan)
    …but melting quickly…
  7. Resuce the roasted squash from the oven and allow to cool enough for you to remove the seeds and skin, and then bung the flesh into the saucepan
  8. Simmer for a bit (if you’re doing the Thai thing, you could add a couple of Kaffir lime leaves)
  9. Use either a hand held blender, potato masher or spoon, to bring to the right consistency (if you’re blending, fish out any cloves, bay leaves etc first)
  10. Maybe some crème fraîche? (Yeah, I know, every second post mentions it, but I’ve got a pot on the go, alright?)

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