Roasted squash produces wonderful soups with a velvety consistency when blitzed smooth. The addition of coconut milk adds a creamy and exotic flavour, but if you don't want to use it, you could replace with vegetable stock. This is a warming soup, ideal in autumn and winter. Serves between four and six people.
- 1 kg (2lb 3oz) butternut squash, peeled and chopped into rough chunks
- a few thyme sprigs
- 2 tblsp rapeseed oil
- 2 red onions, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 tsp red chilli flakes
- 400 ml (14fl oz) tin of coconut milk
- 600 ml (1 pint) vegetable stock, plus a little extra if required
- sea salt and ground black pepper
- crusty bread, to serve
- Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F/Gas 7). Tumble the squash pieces into a roasting tin with the thyme sprigs and toss them in 1 tablespoon of the oil. Season with sea salt and ground black pepper and pop in the oven to roast for 45 minutes or until the edges are slightly charred and the squash is tender when pierced with a fork.
- In a large cooking pot, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil and fry the onions until they are soft. Stir through the chilli flakes and fry for a further minute.
- Discard the thyme and add the roasted squash to the pot, along with the coconut milk and vegetable stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the heat and, using a hand blender, whizz the soup until you have a smooth, velvety consistency. You may need to add more stock or boiling water to get the right consistency. Add sea salt and ground black pepper and check the seasoning. Serve the soup in warm bowls with some crusty bread.