Autumn is squash season and, inspired by the colourful displays of pumpkins, gourds and butternut squashes at Borough Market, Kelly cooked us this delicious soup. She chose butternut squash instead of pumpkin for its richer flavour and denser, less watery flesh. The creaminess comes from the pureed squash and beans, not heavy double cream, making it a really healthy option despite the luxurious taste.
Kelly's Creamy Butternut Squash Soup is the perfect comfort food for a cold day, especially with the sweet warmth of the dry sherry and the subtle kick from the chile de arbol (available at Borough Market from The Cool Chile Company). This will really impress your guests when served at the table from Staub's show-stopping cast iron pumpkin cocotte with a handful of raw pumpkin seeds, some crème fraîche and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Make sure you keep the seeds from the squash, too - they make a tasty snack or garnish when tossed in salt, pepper, paprika and a little oil then roasted in the oven until crunchy.
- 1kg butternut squash (850g prepared)
- 3 medium onions
- 400g tin of white cannellini beans (drained)
- 1.25L chicken or vegetable stock
- 125ml dry sherry
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 50g unsalted butter
- 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- 1/4 tsp chile de arbol
- 1 dried bay leaf
For the garnish:
- 100g raw pumpkin seeds
- crème fraîche
- salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/Gas mark 6
- Trim ends from the squash, cut in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Place the squash cut side down and peel with a vegetable peeler.
- Cut crossways in 2.5cm thick slices and toss the slices with the olive oil, 1 teaspoon of salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Place slices flat on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast until tender and slightly caramelised (approx. 35-45 minutes).
- Heat butter in a cast iron casserole over high heat for two minutes with butter. When it foams, add the onions, thme, chile pwder and bay leaf. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often, until the onions are translucent and soft.
- Add the squash and cannellini beans and stir to coat for a minute. Turn the heat back to high and add the sherry. Leave to reduce for a minute or two then add the stock. Bring to the boil, then lower then heat and simmer for 20 minutes, uncovered.
- While the soup is simmpering, place the raw pumpkin seeds in a large, dry frying pan and toast over medium heat. Stir seeds frequently until they crackle and split and begin to colour. Remove from the heat and spread out on a plate to cool, then place in a serving dish.
- When the soup has finished simmering, turn off the heat and remove the bay leaf.
- Using an immersion blender, pulse slowly to blend, then process to high for about a minute until the soup is completely smooth and creamy. Alternatively, puree soup in batches in a blender or mash with a potato masher. Return to the casserole.
- Transfer the casserole to the table and serve with crème fraîche and toasted pumpkin seeds on the side.
- Kabocha squash or pumpkin can be substituted for the butternut squash
- Serve with crusty bread and Fino or Manzanilla Sherry