You might as well make a huge batch of this and freeze it in individual portions for future lunches and dinners. One lot of cooking, one lot of mess and lots of easy meals is my favourite way to cook.
Why I roast first
Roasting the squash for this roast butternut squash soup concentrates the flavour as it forces some of the water out and caramelises the sugars within it to give you a much more robust flavour. I often roast my squash in the evening while I’m making dinner, use a little bit with my dinner (it is amazing stirred into pasta or curry) and then keep the rest to add to soup the next day. Just transfer it to a bowl and cover it in the fridge if you’re leaving it for the next day. Push yourself to let it cook longer than you think you should. The dark brown bits are what makes the flavour of the soup so good.
Stop peeling! – how to prep your squash safely
So many people think you need to peel butternut squash, and I think that’s what puts people off. It would put me off for sure. But when you roast it, with the skin on, the skin is sticky and delicious and keeps all those precious nutrients inside. And you’re saving time, reducing the risk of a knife injury and not throwing away any of your hard earned money either!
Roast butternut squash soup ingredients
(makes 6-8 servings)
2 large butternut squash
2 large red onions
1 and a half tablespoons cold-pressed rapeseed oil or olive oil, some for roasting the squash and some for frying the onion
Around 1200ml (5 US cups) of the best quality vegetable stock you can find, warmed (obviously use vegetable stock if you are serving this to vegetarians!). Homemade is the best or I like the Kallo organic cubes.
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
sea salt to taste
roughly chopped coriander leaves (cilantro), sliced red chilli, crumbled vegan cheese, toasted pumpkin seeds
1 Preheat the oven to 200C (400F).
2. Right, time to tackle that squash. Watch the video below or follow these instructions: Scrub your butternut squash but don’t peel it. Cut the top (narrowest) stalk off then cut the bottom half inch off to create a flat base. Hold the squash so it is sitting on the now flat base. Using a big, sharp knife, cut it in half through its waist to create two halves which can then be cut in half top to bottom. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. These can be roasted separately for a crunchy topping or can be thrown away. Chop the squash into 1 inch slices then turn the slices on their side and chop them into 1-2 inch pieces so you are left with a pile of cubes.3. Tumble the squash onto a large metal baking sheet – you may need two sheets depending on the size of your squash – drizzle with the oil and use your hands to turn the chunks so they are just about coated with the oil – don’t stress about being too precise. Sprinkle with about a teaspoon of sea salt and put in the oven to roast for 30-40 minutes until the chunks are soft and dark golden on the edges. If your oven cooks unevenly, you’ll need to move the cubes around the tray after about 20 minutes.
4. When your squash is almost ready, peel and chop your onions into half moons
5. Take a large saucepan (big enough to hold the squash later) and heat around a teaspoon of oil before adding your onion and fennel seeds. Stir well and cook for 5-8 minutes over a medium high heat until the onion softens and starts to turn sticky.
6. Add the roasted squash to the pan of onions, be sure to use a silicone spatula to scrape all the sticky bits into your pan as they have all the flavour.
7. Stir and then add the warmed stock. You want the stock to come up to the level of the top of the squash. Then put the lid on and bring to the boil on a high heat. When it boils, drop the heat to medium and leave to simmer with the lid on for 10-15 minutes.
8. Take the lid off and use an immersion blender or regular blender to carefully purée the mixture. At this stage I usually add a little more stock to get the consistency right. I’d rather add more liquid at this stage than at the beginning as it gives me more control and stops the soup being too watery. I like my soup pretty thick but you adjust it to suit you.
9. Taste and adjust the salt then serve the roast butternut squash soup topped with crumbled vegan friendly cheese, chopped basil or coriander (cilantro) and sliced chilli. You can add some toasted pumpkin seeds too.
About Gemma Wade:
Turning her love of cooking into a career, mother of two, Gemma Wade teaches the kitchen secrets to keeping all the parenting plates spinning. Gemma's one-to-one or group led classes, online tutorials and easy recipes demonstrate how to incorporate fuss free, quick and delicious meals into hectic family schedules.
Unlike many chef-led cooking schools, Gemma’s classes and recipes come from the reality of cooking in a home kitchen with small children underfoot and the rest of life being juggled around it.
“Over the years I’ve picked up tons of tips and tricks to get delicious food on the table with a realistic level of effort. Because I spend all my time with real, hard working parents I’ve been able to truly refine what will and won’t work for them. My recipes are inspired by their day-to-day needs, they look and taste amazing but rarely take more than 30 minutes of hands-on work.” Says Gemma. “I’m a big believer in the power of menu planning and the importance of one family, one meal which reduces stress as well as saving money and avoiding waste. I teach based on the principle of cooking with whole, natural ingredients, organic where possible.”
Since launching in 2011 Gemma has had over 5,000 people through her classes, most of which have been busy working mums and dads from companies including, Google, Apple and Facebook.
For more of Gemma’s recipes, online tutorials, or to book a class, visit www.yousaytomatocooking.com or follow @gemcwade