During the Summer months, smoothies featured quite heavily in my diet; I love the fact that they are so versatile – you can throw a great number of ingredients together, blend them all up, and the result is a tasty, nutritious and colourful treat. During Autumn and Winter, soups take the place of smoothies for me, and I love soup for the very same reasons. I especially love the way that the colours of the vegetables that are harvested in Autumn reflect the changing colour of the leaves. Perhaos what I love even more is that with soup, you can make an enormous quantity with great ease, so whether you have many mouths to feed, or just like stocking up your freezer with a seasons worth of warming lunches, making a giant pot of soup is never a bad idea.
In some ways, I feel like it’s a little bit unnecessary to write down the soup recipes I make, because they are such an inexact Science. Just like my smoothies, I throw together whatever I have and make it work. So really, this recipe is just to serve as a reminder of the flavours I have used, and to perhaps give you some inspiration if you feel in need of that.
Seasonal Squash Soup makes approximately 10 portions
1 butternut squash
1 other kind of squash or pumpkin - any will do
1 sweet potato
2 large baking potatoes
4 sticks celery
2 large onions
4 cloves garlic
1 red chilli
1 tbsp garam masala (or a combination of spices such as cumin, paprika, etc)
1.5 litres vegetable or chicken stock
1) In a large pan (I used a 10 litre flameproof casserole dish), heat a knob of butter and a slosh of oil gently.
2) Cut up the onion and celery, and cook gently in the melted butter until translucent.
3) Preheat the oven to 200C / Gas mark 5.
4) Peel your squash and cut into large chunks, then place in a roasting tin, drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 - 40 minutes (depending on how big your chunks are) or until soft.
5) Add in the garlic, chopped chilli and garam masala to the pan on the stove and cook for a minute or until you can smell the lovely garlic and spice aromas.
(NB: I cut up the garlic into relatively large chunks to prevent it from burning. As I was intending on blending the soup, there wasn't a risk of some unfortunate soul ending up with a giant chunk of garlic in their bowl.)
6) Peel and chop the rest of the vegetables and add to the pan to cook gently for 10 minutes or so. If the vegetables look like they are going to start catching on the bottom of the pan, add a splash of water rather than oil to prevent sticking.
7) Add in the stock and leave to simmer for 15 - 20 minutes or until all of the vegetables are cooked through.
8) Put the squash into a food processor / blender, along with the other vegetables, and blend until smooth. Then add extra water if needed to get the soup to your desired consistency. Season to taste.