This is the tastiest soup I ever made, simple as it gets, totally seasonal and making the best use of local ingredients acquired from the farm shop in Inworth, up the road. You don’t need to use just the commonly available alternatives: pumpkin or butternut. The squashes on display were truly amazing, varying in size and shape, and coming in rainbows colours from delicate grey to canary yellow to forest green, their inner flesh every shade from pale yellow to a vivid volcanic orange.
I bought a brace in yellow and green, which went into a lamb, squash and orzo stew and a risotto, but the remainder was always destined for a soup – particularly when I made a fresh batch of chicken stock.
For vegetarians a veggie stock is quite suitable, but whichever stock you use please make it from scratch; the difference compared to stock cubes and gels is chalk and cheese, such that homemade opens up depths of flavour not available in commercial shortcuts.
- Fresh stock – I used about a pint of chicken stock
- Squash, to taste. I used about half a medium-sized squash, seeded, peeled and chopped into one inch cubes
- Shallots – I used 3 banana shallots, peeled and chopped
- Fresh ground salt and pepper
- Olive oil
- Fresh thyme, leaves stripped from the twigs
On a baking tray, place all ingredients except stock, and coat well with thyme, salt and pepper, then squirt with olive oil. Roast in a hot oven for about 15 minutes, taking care not to burn the shallots. Take the tin from the oven and allow to cool. Put veg in a blender and top up with cold stock. Blend but not too long – keep some of the texture of the veg.
Transfer back to a saucepan and warm gently. Add cream if desired (I didn’t). Serve with crusty bread.