Monday, 4 January 2016

Squash and Coconut Soup

Well if ever there was weather for a vibrant and warming soup, then this is it! We woke this morning to a cool and rainy weather and a chilling 1ºC not to mention the wind chill factor...burr! Time for some warming comfort food.
When I made this soup first, my son took one look at it and decided that it was not the soup for him, him being a dedicated pea soup man! So I bided my time and waited until just the right moment to reintroduce what I know he would like if only he would give it a chance, really what is not to like!

My moment of triumph arrived, it was a freezing cold winters day, I picked him up from school and as he settled in to do his homework, I sat down beside him and began to eat. I got to the second spoonful before his attention shifted from writing a row of perfect letter A's, he wondered if he could try some, well that was all it took, he is now a convert, he finished the entire bowl and asked for more.

I think it is the sweetness of the roasted butternut squash that really sells this soup for me, I omitted a teaspoon of chilli flakes as mentioned in the original recipe (making it a bit more child friendly), but I think it would be the perfect addition on freezing days like today. 

Recipe adapted from Donal Skehan's Roasted Squash, Coconut and Chilli Soup from  Great Food For Less

Serves 4-6

1kg Butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks
2-3 Sprigs of thyme ( thank goodness for my little herb garden!!)
2 tbsp Oil
2 Medium onion, roughly chopped
1x 400ml can of full fat coconut milk
600ml Stock (I used some homemade chicken stock)

Preheat the even to 220ºC/425ºF/Gas Mark 7. Take the squash are prepare as follows, cut off the base of the butternut squash, stand it upright on a chopping board and with a large sharp knife, cut it in half lengthwise (very carefully) using a slight sawing motion. Scoop out the seeds, peel both halves with a vegetable peeler and cut into chunks. 

Place the chunks of squash onto a large baking tray, drizzle with half of the oil, sprinkle over the sprigs of thyme and mix it all up with you hands to ensure the squash is fully coated. Season and place in the centre of the preheated oven for 35-45 minutes or until tender and slightly charred around the edges. Once roasted remove the thyme sprigs and discard.  

In a large saucepan on a medium to low heat, sweat the onions in the remaining oil until golden and translucent, add the roasted squash, coconut milk and stock. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 5-6 minutes.  

I prefer to use a hand blender for this job but if you haven't one then very carefully pour the soup into a liquidiser and whizz until smooth.  

Eventually you will transform a very pale and bit insipid looking broth into this vibrant and fragrant soup that will have you licking your lips in anticipation of a tasty lunch. All you have to do now is season and if necessary thin with some left over stock or boiling water. 

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