Sometimes we need a little bit of health in our lives. Ok, so I know we’re nearing the end of January already, and many of you are almost at the end of your detoxes (seriously, well done, I raise a glass of red to you) but there’s no need to slow down on the healthy eating. Butternut squash has such a wonderfully creamy texture and slow roasting in olive oil lifts the flavour to a caramelised sweetness. But the healthy properties of this soup don’t stop there. The colour is complimented with carrot, which is full of antioxidants, and with a little hint of warmth through the red chilli, sweetness from the garlic and a zingy squeeze of lemon, this soup will become your pick-me-up staple. Take it to work in a Thermos, pour into a mug and enjoy whilst tackling your dissertation, or make it on a slow Sunday, and enjoy the last remnants of your weekend with a bowl curled up on the sofa.
You Will Need
1 Butternut Squash
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 white onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 small carrot, grated
1 ½ pints chicken or vegetable stock
A squeeze of lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon double cream to serve
Preheat the oven to 200oc/180oc fan/Gas Mark 5. On a chopping board, top and tail the butternut squash and then slice in half length ways. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Remove the outside skin with a peeler or vegetable knife and discard peelings. Slice the squash and cut into 1cm chunks. Place on a baking tray and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, making sure each piece is coated. Season well and roast in the oven for 40 minutes, turning regularly.
After the squash has been roasting for 20 minutes, heat the remaining oil in a large stockpot over a medium heat. Add the onions and slowly cook for 10 minutes. Add the garlic and chilli and cook for a further minute. Add the carrot, cook for another minute, then pour over the stock and bring to the boil.
Once the squash is tender and beginning to crisp at the edges, remove from the oven and add to the pot. Cook for 5 minutes and then remove from the heat. Using a stick blender, whizz the soup until smooth and no lumps remain. Season with some pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. Ladle into bowls and serve with a drizzle of double cream and extra black pepper.