This is a variation on good old fashioned butternut squash soup, a more complicated flavour and a great deal warmer on the palate, rewarding a little more fuss in the preparation with a very distinctively different kind of spicy, tangy, complicated and generally squashy soup. Although you can remove the tough skin of the squash by roasting it, this recipe doesn’t really suit that approach, so you’re looking at taking the skin off with a knife, unless you’ve got one of those really sharp peelers that can skin a tomato. Whichever, do take care of your fingers as it really is a tough job. Once the skin’s away, you can scoop out the seeds and stringy pith with a spoon, then chop the squash into 2-3cm chunks. The frozen chilli is just because that’s how I store my chilis – and the cooking time to start browning and caramelising the squash is just right to brown a frozen chilli without burning it.
- 1 kg butternut squash in chunks
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Pepper & salt
- 1 frozen red chilli
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp Madras curry powder
- ½ tsp cumin
- 1 onion, chopped
- ½ tsp dried chilli flakes
- 1 tsp salt
- 1l vegetable stock
Crank the oven up to 230C/450F/GM8. Slip the butternut into a lightly oiled roasting tin along with the garlic and then top with the frozen chilli. Drizzle with oil and season generously, even expansively – think of a tin-pot dictator feting a major prospect for foreign direct investment - then roast for 30 minutes, giving the contents of the tin a turn every 10 minutes or so, until you've got a tin of brown-edged squash. The squash should be softish squash, not squishy squash...
Place all the other ingredients in a roomy pan, then add the roasted butternut and garlic. Chop the stalk off the chilli before slipping that into the pan as well and then simmering the mixture for about 20 minutes, partially covered, over a low to medium heat. Leave to cool a little.
Now whizz the whole lot and strain it before serving with a dollop of soured cream in the middle.