Roast butternut squash and chilli soup

I visited family at the back end of last year and my mother’s friend gave me a butternut squash that was from their allotment – that her husband had dug up. I was cordial upon receiving it though had no real idea what I might do with it.

I went on to use it in a roasted butternut squash and chilli soup which has become a firm favourite ever since. I have long been a fan of homemade soup and this one has now overtaken my tarragon and whitebean soup to become my current favourite.

Ingredients:

  • 1 med sized butternut squash, cut through the middle into two halves (stalk to stem). Seeds removed with a spoon and discarded.
  • 1 med size onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2.5 cm piece of grated root ginger
  • 2 red OR green chillis, finely chopped (optional)
  • 200 ml coconut milk
  • 100g red lentils
  • 1 ltr of vegetable stock (I always use Marigold Swiss Vegetable Bouillion)
  • generous handful of coriander leaves, chopped

Instructions:

  1. Place sliced squash, skin-side down onto an oiled baking tray and roast in oven at about 175 c for about 45-60 mins. You’ll know when it’s cooked because it will have a cooked potato consistency (i.e. a knife or fork will go through it). Remove from oven when cooked. Allow to cool a bit so it’ll be easier to handle.
  2. Saute onion in a little oil until it starts to go soft. Then add the garlic, ginger and chillis (being careful not to let the garlic catch).
  3. Now add the stock, lentils, scooped out roasted squash and the coconut milk/cream.
  4. Cook for about 15 mins on a lowish simmer, until the lentils are cooked. I probably tend to leave the pan mostly covered.
  5. Remove from the heat and let rest for about 5 mins. Add the chopped coriander and leave for another 5 mins.
  6. Now blend either using a hand-held blender (which I would tend to use for this) or transfer to liquidizer and do it that way.
  7. Serve with a bit of chopped coriander on top (optional, I don’t usually bother), and/or a swirl of creme fraiche or cream if you like that.

Servings: will make 5 generous portions

Freezes perfectly and has a wonderful, spicy but rich taste. If you use 2 red chillis as I do – it also has a nice hint of fire. It’s also nice and filling and crazily good for you as it’s essentially vegan. Although the recipe is called ‘… chilli soup’, you can omit the chillis if you do not like hot food – it would still have a nice taste.

Recipe based on Niamh Shield’s ‘roast pumpkin and chilli soup’ from her book – Comfort and Spice – which I particularly rate.

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