Roasted butternut squash soup with smoked cheese and toasted crouton.
Tis the season for winter squash! I’ve used butternut squash in this recipe but feel free to experiment with other types – hubbard (get your saw out), pumpkin, kabocha – they’re all delicious and add their own unique flavor. Serves 6
• 120 g butter (quarter of a pound of butter)
• 1 large onions, diced
• 1 fennel bulb, diced
• ½ tsp each ground fennel seed, coriander, cinnamon (see note)
• 1 large butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and chopped into chunks (see note)
• 1000ml hot vegetable stock
• 250 ml milk or cream (I like heavy cream J)
• 250 g grated smoked cheese (I like Natural Pasture’s boerenkaas)
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to season
• 6 slices French bread
• Fresh parsley or thyme, Chopped to garnish
1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan, and gently fry the onion and fennel bulb for about three minutes, until softened, but not browned; add the ground spiced.
2. Add the butternut squash, and sauté for a few minutes; let some of the spices and veggies stick to the bottom of the pan and caramelize, this will add more flavor and depth to your soup.
3. Add the vegetable stock. Heat until the mixture is just simmering, then turn the heat to low and cook on low heat, until the vegetables are soft and tender.
4. Transfer the soup to a blender or food processor and add half of the grated cheese.
5. Blend the soup for 15-20 seconds, until completely smooth. Return it to the saucepan and add the milk or cream. Stir thoroughly and reheat until piping hot. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Add more water or stock if the soup is to thick and adjust seasoning.
6. Meanwhile, toast the slices of French bread, butter and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and grill until melted. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls, then top each portion with one piece of French toast. Sprinkle with fresh parsley or thyme and a little extra ground black pepper, then serve.
Note: • Take the time to grind your own spices if you can; an old coffee grinder will do the trick. The spices lend considerably more flavor when ground from whole.
• You’ll need roughly 750 g of butternut squash when peeled and deseeded. If you have any left over, simply roast it until tender to serve as a vegetable with another meal or dice it up, sauté it in butter and use it as a garnish for the soup.