butternut squash and walnut soup
it's squash season - there's barely been a day when i have not eaten it in some shape or form: in muffins, roasted with chilli, as a sweet in its own right (more of which later) and in soups like this one.
i have blogged about squash soups before but normally about ones made with chilli and possibly coconut milk. this one is a much simpler affair and would suit those not hugely keen on spicy food.
the addition of walnuts and toasted seeds works not only as a crunchy contrast but actually improves the taste. even rich, who is not normally a lover of walnuts, said it worked.
do try and use home made stock. i know it's a pain but it really does make a difference. i didn't have any and, though it was perfectly acceptable, the soup lacked that creamy mouthfeel that i guess comes from either fat or gelatine in the real thing.
the recipe is mark hix's.
1 onion, chopped
1 small leek, chopped
1kg butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into chunks
a knob of butter
1.2l of stock, preferably homemade
10-15 walnuts, shelled
1tbs or more of pumpkin seeds, dry toasted till crunchy
melt the butter in a saucepan and fry and onion and leek gently until soft. don't rush this bit and don't burn the vegetables. next, add the squash and the stock, bring to boil, season and let simmer for about half an hour, or until the squash is totally soft.
transfer to a blender, leaving a few squash chunks behind. cut those up into small cubes and blend the rest until smooth. be careful - hot liquids and blenders are dangerous so always wrap a tea towel around the lid to stop the hot liquid from exploding all over you and your kitchen (i speak from experience).
return the soup to the pan and reheat if necessary. check for seasoning, and plate. add the walnuts and the seeds to each bowl and stir some cream or creme fraiche if you like.