Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Cooking: Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup



Checking the date on the photo above, I've had the ingredients for this soup scrawled down for almost a year now. With the method fresh again in my mind after making a new batch tonight, it seems like a good time to finally write this one up.

I'm not sure why our small, local supermarket started stocking sweet potatoes and butternut squashes a couple of years ago - I'm pretty sure I'm one of the only two or three people who buys them, but having picked them up, I was determined to make them into soup for some reason (personally, I blame the weird abundance of pumpkin soup in Zelda). After a good few attempts, this is the one I settled on. It's a hearty, lightly spicy soup that strikes a nice balance between sweet and savoury.

(If I do say so myself. :D)

Ingredients
  • 1 butternut squash
  • 3 large sweet potatoes
  • 2 medium onions
  • 4 medium sticks of celery
  • 2 1/4 pints stock
  • dried coriander
  • mild chilli powder
  • ground sea salt
  • ground black pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil
Method
  1. Peel the sweet potatoes and peel and remove the seeds from the the butternut squash.
  2. Cut both into 0.5-1 inch cubes and spread them out evenly in a large, flat oven pan, on top of a piece of greaseproof paper or parchment.
  3. Give the diced veg a generous sprinkling of olive oil followed by a good, even sprinkling of the coriander and mild chilli powder, and a few grinds of salt and pepper.
  4. Toss the veg around gently to make sure everything gets a good coating of seasoning. (I use a big serving spoon for this)
  5. Put the the diced veg. cooking in the oven at about 200ÂșC.
  6. Meanwhile, peel the onions and the backs of the celery stalks (to remove the stringy bits). Dice the onions and celery pretty finely and sweat them in some more olive oil in a large pot.
  7. When the butternut squash and sweet potato pieces are soft enough to stick a fork through easily add them to the pot with the sweated onions.
  8. Now if you've got a decent hand blender here's where you'd mix everything in the pot together and blend the mixture into a smooth mash. Failing that, as long as you've diced the onions and celery finely enough, you can totally get away with just mashing everything thoroughly with a potato masher here.
  9. Next, pour in the stock and stir well to mix it together with the mashed veg. I usually just use chicken stock cubes and 2 1/4 pints is three stock cubes worth of Knorr's finest.
  10. Now bring the soup to the boil, giving it the occasional stir.
  11. Once it's boiling, reduce the heat and let it simmer it for 15-20 minutes, stirring it regularly. While it's simmering, give it a taste. It's probably going to need more seasoning, so add more salt, pepper and spices as needed and give it a good stir to mix them in.
  12. If you want to thicken up the soup you can dissolve a few tablespoons of flour in some water and add it here. Make sure to dissolve the flour in the water thoroughly first though and to stir the soup continuously until the flour-water mixture dissolves in it completely. Otherwise you're going to end up with little balls of flour floating in the soup.
  13. Enjoy! (Hopefully :D)

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