Another easy soup for the mid-week zombie march. You will need:
- one butternut squash (or a very small pumpkin)
- about a handful (50g) of chopped up chorizo (a reasonably spicy one, preferably – you could use pancetta but I don’t think that would deliver the same amount of excitement)
- about a litre of stock (chicken, vegetable, or just reach for the Marigold powdered boullion)
Cut the squash down the middle, scoop out the seeds with a metal spoon, and slice a channel down the middle, with channels across as well. Butternut squash are treacherous, so be careful when you do this.
Pack the chorizo into the hollows, and grind over a spot of salt and pepper. Put them in a shallow baking dish, and into the oven at 180ºC for an hour. (The pancetta will ooze fat, so don’t use a baking sheet unless you want hot pig fat on the floor of your oven.)
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, get the stock into a saucepan, and hot. I had a block of stock in the freezer (no idea whether it was animal, vegetable or mineral) so popped it in the pan to defrost. (End result: vegetable, if a little on the bland side.)
When you retrieve the squash from the oven, the channels will have opened out and the chorizo fat soaked into the flesh. In addition, the flesh on the surface will have started to caramelise. Yum.
Let the squash cool a bit. Using a pair of barbecue tongs to hold them, use a metal spoon to scrape out the soft flesh and chorizo, and add it to the saucepan of hot stock. Stroke the flesh gently with the spoon and it should come off the skin easily. The biggest challenge of this operation is not to simply eat the hot squash then and there. (It does make a terrific side dish.)
The soup will then need to be simmered for another fifteen minutes or so, but another half hour if the flesh was a little fibrous, i.e. hadn’t cooked all the way through in the oven.
I use the hand blender (purée wand in US English) to smooth out any last pockets of resistance. You could just have a go with a potato masher and leave it chunky.
Salt and pepper to taste. Maybe a teensy pinch of paprika if you’ve used pancetta.