As soon as the temperature drops outside, two things happen in my house: the fire is lit, and this soup gets made. It’s got such a rich, deep flavour which warms from the inside, but it’s also got a beautiful colour, which is the result of a couple of secret ingredients I add for two reasons; not only do the spices in this soup help ward off winter nasties, but they can actually help lift your mood if you’re feeling sad or a bit sorry. Truly a food for the body and the soul, this one – perfect for when you need comfort food that really does you good.
To really get the most from the flavours of the vegetables, I’ve roasted everything beforehand, but if you want a faster version, simply saute the onions and garlic, and boil the butternut; this will reduce cooking time to about 40 minutes.
Top tip: Whenever I buy ginger or turmeric, I stick it straight in the freezer. That way, all I need to do is grate however much I need, and it’s always on hand.
Creamy Butternut Soup
Serves 4-6. Ready in 90 minutes.
- 1 whole butternut, halved
- 1 whole onion, halved
- 1 whole garlic clove, halved horizontally
- 20ml olive oil
- 2 litres good chicken or vegetable stock (use vegetable for vegetarian)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 fresh turmeric (or 1 heaped teaspoon turmeric powder)
- 1 knob fresh ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 300ml cream
- Salt & pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 180°. Halve butternut and scrape out seeds. Season with salt and pepper and place in a lightly-oiled roasting dish, flesh side down. Do the same with the onion and garlic. Cover with tin foil and roast for 45 minutes or until soft. Allow to cool enough so you can touch the vegies.
In a large saucepan, heat oil. Remove skins of roasted onions and lightly chop flesh. Add to oil and cook on medium until you get a slight glaze. Add butternut flesh and squeeze out the soft roasted garlic, and combine, ensuring the sugars don’t stick on the bottom.
Add stock and bring to the boil, stirring to combine. Grate fresh turmeric and ginger into the soup, and add cinnamon stick, cayenne and bay leaves. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
Remove bay leaves and cinnamon stick, and blend soup to a puree. Remove from heat and add cream. Stir through, and season to taste. Return to heat just enough to bring the soup back to full heat (do not boil).
Serve soup with fresh warmed crusty bread.