This soup is especially appetizing and comforting on a cold day!
- 1 kg butternut squash
- 2 tblsp olive oil
- 2 tsp finely chopped fresh sage
- 1 garlic clove (finely chopped)
- 1 onion (finely chopped)
- 1 carrot (finely chopped)
- 1 celery stick (finely chopped)
- 1.2 l (2 pints) vegetable or chicken stock
- 50 ml double cream
- for the parsley puree:
- 2 garlic cloves (peeled)
- 15 g fresh flatleaf parsley (stalks discarded)
- 4 tblsp freshly grated parmesan
- 4 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 lemon (pips removed)
- maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 230° (475°F/Gas 9).
- Cut the pumpkin or squash into wedges, not more than 7.5 cm (3 inch) thick and scoop out the seeds using a large spoon.
- Brush all over using one tablespoon of the oil and place them in a roasting tin. Season generously and roast on a high shelf in the oven to roast for about 45 minutes or until softened and caramelised, turning once.
- Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large pan.
- Add the sage, garlic, onion, carrot and celery and cook for 10-15 minutes until softened but not browned, stirring occasionally.
- Pour in the stock and bring to the boil, then season and simmer for 20 minutes until the vegetables are completely tender and softened.
- Leave the pumpkin to cool, then scoop the flesh away from the skin; discarding the skin - you should have about 1 kg (2 lb) in total.
- Add to the pan and simmer for another 15-20 minutes until the pumpkin is tender and has started to collapse.
- Add double cream.
- Whiz the soup to a puree with a hand blender or in batches in a food processor, then season to taste.
- Meanwhile, make the parsley puree.
- Place the garlic, parsley and Parmesan in a mini blender with half a teaspoon of the salt and whiz to a puree.
- Add the olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice, then blend again briefly to combine.
- Season to taste and transfer to a small serving bowl.
- Cover with clingfilm and chill until ready to serve.
- To serve, ladle the soup into the brown soda bread containers and top each serving with a teaspoonful of the parsley purée.
- Serve the remainder of the parsley puree separately with the scooped out soda bread and allow guest to help themselves.
Kevin's tip: This soup freezes very well. Simply pour into freezer bags or container with lids - leaving space to allow for expansion. It is best thawed overnight at room temperature, but using the microwave can speed up the process.