Unlike pumpkin, butternut squash are available all year. Shaped like a large peanut, they have a sweet orange flesh. Roasting them first in the oven means that you don’t have to tackle removing the tough skin, and it fills the kitchen with a delicious aroma.
3 small butternut squash, about 1.6kg (3 ½ lb) total weight
About 2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
25g (1oz) butter
1 large onion, roughly chopped
2 large carrots, roughly chopped
2 large sticks celery, sliced
2.5cm (1 inch) root ginger, grated
1.1-1.3 litres (2-2 ¼ pints) vegetable or chicken stock
Sprig of fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dry
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6.
Cut the butternut squash in half lengthways, scoop out the seeds with a metal spoon and discard. Arrange the squash halves cut side up in a roasting tin just big enough to hold the squash in a single layer and drizzle over the olive oil. Season each squash half with salt, pepper and freshly grated nutmeg. Pour 150ml (1/4 pint) water around the squash. Cook in the preheated oven for about 1 ¼ hours, basting occasionally, until the squash are very tender. Allow to cool.
Melt the butter in a large pan and add the onion, carrot, celery and grated ginger. Cook for 5-10 minutes until beginning to soften. Add the stock, rosemary and seasoning, bring to the boil then partially cover and simmer for about 20 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
When cool enough to handle scoop the flesh from the squash and add to the pan. Blend the vegetables in a liquidiser or food processor until smooth. (If you use a food processor, it is easier to process the vegetables with a little of the liquid, adding the remaining liquid to the processed vegetables to make the soup.)
Taste for seasoning and serve hot with crusty bread.
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