Sunday 19 May 2013

Butternut Squash & Ginger Soup

What a week it’s been, so busy and the next couple of weeks don’t look like being any different. The weather has also been pretty miserable, damp, windy and cold. Parts of the UK even had snow early this week – snow! It’s May for goodness sake!!

Hard work and cold weather make me crave warm comforting foods, rice puddings, stews and soups. Feeling a little careworn I decided to make soup to give my body an extra wholesome boost. I love making soup, I find the process almost as therapeutic and comforting as eating the soup itself. There is something calming about a gently simmering pan of savoury veg.

Having recently bought a large butternut squash I decided to use this as the base of the soup, replacing the usual potato as the starchy thickener. This not only gave the soup a wonderfully rich orange hue, but also an incredible smoothness and natural sweetness.

I considered adding some chili to the soup to make it extra warming, but decided instead to use the fresher warming kick of fresh ginger. I’ve never used fresh ginger in a soup before but the results were lovely. The ginger wasn’t immediately apparent, but it left a lingering tongue tingle and aromatic freshness after each spoonful.

I topped my soup with a swirl of buttermilk and used some crunchy roasted spiced chickpeas in place of croutons. They added a lovely contrast to the soup, much better than a bit of soggy bread. Wholesome, healthy and spirit lifting. A delicious soup for the soul.

Butternut Squash & Ginger Soup
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
2 carrots
400g butternut squash
1 inch piece of fresh ginger
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Small knob of butter
2 pints vegetable stock (check any stock or stock cubes are gluten free)
½ tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

Peel the onion, carrots and garlic cloves. Roughly chop the onion into chunks, it doesn’t need to be that neat as you blitz everything later.
Heat a large saucepan with the oil and butter and add the onion. Stir, put the lid on the pan and leave to sweat.
Chop the carrot and butternut squash (leave the skin on) into chunks and stir into the onion and replace the lid again.
Finely chop the garlic and fresh ginger. Stir into the veg along with the thyme and replace the lid again. Leave to cook for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile prepare you stock, ideally you want it hot so it doesn’t destroy the heat in the pan.
Once the veg is starting to soften and take on a bit of colour, pour over the vegetable stock, stir well and replace the lid, this time ajar so some of the steam can escape. Bring the mix to a boil then reduce it to a simmer and leave to cook for 25-30 minutes.
Check the butternut squash and carrots are cooked by fishing a bit out with a spoon and tasting it. If it is, remove the soup from the heat, if not, leave to cook for a further 5 minutes before testing again.
Ladle the soup into a liquidizer and blitz until smooth, you may need to do this in batches. Alternatively, use a hand blender to blitz it straight in the pan.
Return the soup to the pan and warm through if needed. Taste and add extra salt and pepper if desired.
Serve in warmed bowl and top with a swirl of buttermilk or cream. Add a few croutons or gluten free alternative. (I used roasted spiced chickpeas for a nice contrasting crunch)
Serves 4-6 depending if served as a starter or main


The Caked Crusader said...

Love the photo where you can see the heat haze coming up from the soup!

Sara said...

Hi Katie!

Sara from Great British Chefs here (we've been in contact via email recently!).

Really like the recipe, ginger is a great addition which as you said adds more subtle depth than perhaps chilli.

We have a more traditional Butternut Squash recipe on our site, here's the link in case you want to check it out!

Thanks for sharing!

Online PhD in education by Julia said...

I was so happy to come across your blog because you promote yourself as a vegetarian and gluten free blog. Recently I have been working on making the transition to vegetarian and your recipe looks amazing. I have never been brave enough to try a butternut squash soup but if the pictures are anything to go by it will be delicious.

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