As the nights draw in there is nothing more comforting than a steamy bowl of thick creamy soup. When I was younger, soup was on the menu most days as an entree to nearly every meal. Pop would say that you could live on soup and soup alone – I think he’s probably right (he frequently is and boy do we know it!)
My Nana’s soup is the stuff of legends – generations have been reared on it. In their uni years my (later to be) Uncle made my Aunt chicken noodle soup when she was down with the flu – he has been revered in our family ever since as the model husband – that was a good 30 years ago…see – the stuff of legends!
So here is a lovely little soup recipe, not a clear soup as favoured in our family down under but a thick wholesome soup to get you through the darkening autumn days here in the northern hemisphere.
To serve 6 – 8 you will need:
- 1 whole butternut squash
- 1 large onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 750ml – 1000ml of chicken stock
- A few sprigs of rosemary
- 100 – 250ml cream
- 50 grams pine nuts
- 75 grams pancetta
- 2 teaspoons of paprika
- 1 dessert spoon of sunflower oil
- 1 tablespoon of honey
Heat the oven to 180C.
Peel, seed and chop the butternut squash. Quarter the onion and peel the garlic cloves. Place the squash, onion and garlic into a roasting tray on top of the rosemary sprigs. Mix the sunflower oil and the honey together and pour over the vegetables, mix them around with your hand to ensure they are evenly coated. Place in the oven to roast for around 30 minutes or until you can easily slide a knife through the squash.
While the squash is roasting, put the pancetta in a cold dry frying pan. Turn the heat on and fry the pancetta until it is crispy. There should be no fatty bits remaining. Using a slotted spoon transfer the pancetta from the frying pan onto some paper towel, to absorb the fat. There will be some residual fat in the frying pan, to which you add the pine nuts – toast until golden brown. Dry on paper towel and set aside for later.
If you are using a stock pot or cube, make that up next. Then remove the roasting pan from the oven and discard the rosemary, including any little springs which have become detached whilst cooking. Put the vegetables into a food processor, along with around 3/4 of your stock. Blitz until smooth. If you don’t have a food processor, transfer the vegetables into a large saucepan and mash with a potato masher, then add around 3/4 of your stock. You are holding some of the stock back, because if you have a smaller than average squash, you may end up with a soup that is too thin.
Now add some of the cream, the paprika, salt and pepper to taste. The soup should be heated gently just for a few minutes to allow you to gauge whether you need more stock or seasoning.
If you do end up with a soup that is really thin, simply peel, boil and mash some potato in to thicken it up.
Serve with a drizzle of cream (or cream fraiche) and a sprinkle of pine nuts and pancetta.
This will keep well for a number of days in the fridge, gently reheat until piping hot to serve.