I am stocking up on soup recipes for the colder months so we get to try various things: different types of vegetables, sometimes some fruit added, spices or not, cream or coconut milk, and many many types of toppings. When making a simple plain soup or velouté, it is always a good idea to prepare a few toppings to make it less boring: croutons, toasted nuts, crumbled or grated cheese, bacon bits, etc.
One of my favourite soups to make is butternut. I just love how creamy it is and its colour is so pleasing, it is like sunshine in a bowl!
Butternut squash is sweeter than most vegetables and I also added an apple to the pot, but the savoury toppings bring a wonderful balance to the mix. I also drizzled some cream on the soup but it can be skipped altogether, the butternut is very creamy by itself once blended.
A big bowl of this served with crusty buttered bread and I am happy!
What are your favourite colder months soups? Do you prefer them plain or do you try various toppings?
Ingredients (serve 2 as a main or 4 smaller bowls as an appetiser)
800g butternut squash* (peeled, seeded and cut in cubes)
1 apple (peeled, seeded and diced)
1 shallot (sliced)
1 tablespoon butter**
700ml vegetable stock
40g crumbly blue cheese***
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
Optional: cream to drizzle on top.
1. Put the butter in a large saucepan (or soup pot) over a medium heat. When melted, add the sliced shallot and stir for 3 minutes. Add the butternut and apple and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Pour the vegetable stock (it should cover the butternut and apple pieces) and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, season with salt and pepper, cover and simmer for 20/25 minutes (check that the butternut cubes are tender).
3. While the soup is cooking, prepare the walnut topping. Put a teaspoon of olive oil in a small frying pan over medium to high heat. Add in the walnuts and stir for 3 minutes. Sprinkle the dried rosemary, stir for another minute. You can leave them as they are or chop roughly and transfer into a small serving bowl.
4. When the soup is cooked, remove two ladles worth of stock and keep aside in a bowl. Puree the soup with a blender (I use a hand held one) until smooth. If you like a thick soup, leave as it is. If you prefer it thinner, stir in some of the stock set aside****.
Divide the soup between the bowls, drizzle some cream on the top (optional) then sprinkle with the blue cheese and toasted walnuts. Et voilà!
* This is the amount of butternut once peeled and seeded (the whole vegetable was more than 900g - even though the shop sticker said 600g).
** For a vegan version, replace the butter with olive oil and skip the cheese and cream (coconut cream drizzled on top would be equally delicious!).
*** I used Fourme d'Ambert but I have also tried this recipe with Bleu d'Auvergne and Stilton which both crumbled well. If you are vegetarian, use an alternative blue cheese (all the ones mentioned are made with animal rennet).
****If you have kept some of the stock aside, why not chilling or freezing it and use it in a delicious risotto!