I hear you, soup naysayers – there are only a few soups that I like to be blended right down…and typically those are root vegetable based. I think soups have moved on though…go back 10 or so years, and everyone blitzed the bejesus out of their soups! Today, this is a trend that has thankfully subsided. For sure, you have to make sure that the flavours are bold enough to carry off a thick, monotone texture…and that leads me to my post for today – pumpkin or some type of squash soup. My favourite is butternut squash – that’s the one with the nut shape!
This recipe is a riff on Thai flavours – a flavour bomb that will most definitely wake up your taste-buds! And keep it chunky if you have a fear of baby food.
3 tbsp peanut oil (or any mild flavoured vegetable oil will do)
2 onions, peeled and diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger
1 fresh or dry red chilli, finely chopped/crushed (I used a semi-dried chilli from the plant I’ve been growing on my windowsill – it’s got a bit of a kick, but I like it that way! If you don’t like it too hot, then remove seeds)
1 butternut squash, about 1kg, peeled and deseeded, chopped into large chunks i.e. approx. 4 cm across (or any other winter squash will work; I only had half a squash so I topped it up with a couple of peeled and chopped sweet potatoes)
3 lime leaves (fresh would be preferable, but dry are fine; and this is optional – I find it just brings a bit more of a Thai flavour to the soup)
850 ml hot vegetable or chicken stock (your choice!)
2 tbsp peanut butter (I like crunchy as then you get bits of peanut throughout your soup)
Salt & pepper to taste
Small handful of roughly chopped, fresh coriander/cilantro
- In a large pot, over a medium heat, add the oil and onions, and gently cook for 15 minutes until the onion is tender (do not allow to brown).
- Add the garlic, ginger and chilli and mix well, leave to cook for 2 minutes – keep an eye on the temperature as you don’t want to brown the garlic.
- Add the chunks of squash to the pot and coat in the oil mixture.
- Pour in the hot stock and add the lime leaves, and bring to the boil.
- Cover and cook at a gentle simmer for 15 minutes, or until the squash pieces are soft and squidgy. Check halfway through cooking to make sure there is enough liquid and it’s not sticking to the bottom – top up with hot water if starting to look a bit dry.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the peanut butter.
- Remove the lime leaves and either mash the soup with a potato masher, or use a stick blender and whizz to your desired consistency (I still like a bit of texture in mine).
- Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Serve in bowls and sprinkle over the fresh coriander.