Superb squash soup with the best Parmesan croutons

Butternut Squash Soup

Serves 8

  • olive oil

  • 16 fresh sage leaves

  • 2 red onions, peeled and chopped

  • 2 sticks celery, trimmed and chopped

  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped

  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves picked

  • ½ - 1 fresh red chilli, to taste, deseeded and finely chopped

  • sea salt

  • freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 kg butternut squash, onion squash or musque de Provence, halved, deseeded and cut into chunks

  • 2 litres organic chicken or vegetable stock

  • extra virgin olive oil

  • For the croutons

  • extra virgin olive oil

  • 16 slices ciabatta bread

  • 1 block Parmesan cheese, for grating

Put a very large saucepan on a medium heat and pour in a couple of lugs of olive oil. Add the sage leaves and fry for around 30 seconds or until dark green and crisp. Quickly remove them with a slotted spoon to a bowl lined with kitchen paper – you'll use these for sprinkling over at the end. In the pan you'll be left with a beautifully flavoured oil, so put it back on the heat and throw in your onion, celery, carrot, garlic, rosemary leaves, chilli and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Cook gently for about 10 minutes until the vegetables are sweet and soft. Add the squash and the stock to the pan, bring to the boil and simmer for around half an hour.



While the soup is cooking, make your croutons. Drizzle a little olive oil over the ciabatta slices, pat it in and press some grated Parmesan on to each side. Place in a non-stick pan without any oil and fry until golden on both sides.



When the squash is soft and cooked through, whiz the soup with a hand blender or pour it into a liquidizer and pulse until you have a smooth purée (but you can leave it slightly chunky if you like). Most importantly, remember to taste and season it until it's perfect. Divide the soup between your bowls, placing 2 croutons on top of each. Sprinkle with a few of your crispy sage leaves and drizzle with a swirl of good-quality extra virgin olive oil.

Nutritional Information

Superb squash soup with the best Parmesan croutons

Smooth, creamy and a little bit spicy

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0 foodies cooked this
This delicious butternut squash soup is a great base – try it with pasta or pearl barley thrown in
Serves 8
55m
Super easy
Method

This fantastic soup is best made with varieties of squash that have dense, orange flesh, such as butternut or onion squash. It's important to use good chicken stock and season the soup well to bring out the nutty, sweet flavour of the squash. Once you've mastered this recipe, you can take the soup in different ways by adding pearl barley, dried pasta, or some chopped smoked bacon. Even the smallest amount of dried porcini. PS I made this in my pressure cooker the other day, with really great results – it's so quick!

Put a very large saucepan on a medium heat and pour in a couple of lugs of olive oil. Add the sage leaves and fry for around 30 seconds or until dark green and crisp. Quickly remove them with a slotted spoon to a bowl lined with kitchen paper – you'll use these for sprinkling over at the end. In the pan you'll be left with a beautifully flavoured oil, so put it back on the heat and throw in your onion, celery, carrot, garlic, rosemary leaves, chilli and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Cook gently for about 10 minutes until the vegetables are sweet and soft. Add the squash and the stock to the pan, bring to the boil and simmer for around half an hour.

While the soup is cooking, make your croutons. Drizzle a little olive oil over the ciabatta slices, pat it in and press some grated Parmesan on to each side. Place in a non-stick pan without any oil and fry until golden on both sides.

When the squash is soft and cooked through, whiz the soup with a hand blender or pour it into a liquidizer and pulse until you have a smooth purée (but you can leave it slightly chunky if you like). Most importantly, remember to taste and season it until it's perfect. Divide the soup between your bowls, placing 2 croutons on top of each. Sprinkle with a few of your crispy sage leaves and drizzle with a swirl of good-quality extra virgin olive oil.

Nutritional Information Amount per serving:
  • Calories 293 15%
  • Carbs 39.3g 15%
  • Sugar 15.4g 17%
  • Fat 8.2g 12%
  • Saturates 2.3g 12%
  • Protein 12.1g 27%
Of an adult's reference intake

BUYING SUSTAINABLY SOURCED FISH

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Buying sustainably sourced fish means buying fish that has been caught without endangering the levels of fish stocks and with the protection of the environment in mind. Wild fish caught in areas where stocks are plentiful are sustainably sourced, as are farmed fish that are reared on farms proven to cause no harm to surrounding seas and shores.

When buying either wild or farmed fish, ask whether it is sustainably sourced. If you're unable to obtain this information, don't be afraid to shop elsewhere – only by shopping sustainably can we be sure that the fantastic selection of fish we enjoy today will be around for future generations.

For further information about sustainably sourced fish, please refer to the useful links below:

Marine Stewardship Council
http://www.msc.org/

Fish Online
http://www.fishonline.org

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