There’s nothing more warming nor stomach satisfying than this fibre and beta-carotene rich, but gentle on the gut, seasonal, butternut squash soup. So easy to make and yet, with the warming mild spices, it’s a perfect staple to stock in the fridge or freezer.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: approximately 1 hour
750g (1lb 10oz) butternut squash, or any squash or pumpkin, cut into 2cm (¾ in) pieces
olive oil, for drizzling
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
seeds from 6 cardamom pods
25g (1oz) butter
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground ginger
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
1 leek, finely chopped
500g (1lb 2oz) sweetcorn, rinsed and drained if canned, thawed if frozen
275ml (10fl oz) semi-skimmed milk
750ml (1¼ pints) vegetable or chicken stock
ground black pepper
a handful of wholemeal croutons and a swirl of natural yogurt, to serve (optional)
• Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan oven) mark 4.
• Put the squash on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and roast for 25 minutes or until golden.
• Meanwhile dry-roast the cumin, coriander and cardamom seeds in a small frying pan for 2–3 minutes until they change colour and start to jump in the pan.
• Crush them finely, using a pestle and mortar.
• Melt the butter in a large pan, then add the onion and garlic, and cook for 5 minutes or until soft.
• Add the ground seeds with the turmeric, ginger, celery and leek, and stir well.
• Cook for a further 3 minutes, then add the squash and sweetcorn.
• Season with black pepper.
• Stir well, then cover and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes.
• Add the milk and stock, replace the lid, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 20 minutes.
• Take the soup off the heat.
• Whiz in a food processor or blender, leaving a little texture – it doesn't need to be absolutely smooth.
Serve with wholemeal bread croutons and, if you like, add a swirl of yogurt.
Can be made gluten free if you use gluten-free bread or leave out the croutons.