Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Squash soup: an autumn recipe from Exmoor House

The other week some kind guests brought us a present: a large squash from their allotment. This turned out to be a Boston marrow winter squash, which resembles a pumpkin in texture and colour but is more lemon- or gourd-shaped. It can be used in all the same ways as a pumpkin (e.g. baked, included in casseroles, and to make pies, purées and soup). If you’ve stayed with us at Exmoor House, you’ll know that we love good food and enjoy trying different ingredients and flavour combinations.
In autumnal mood because it was a lovely autumn day, I just fancied some soup. On the web I found many recipes for squash soup, some of them quite fancy. I decided that mine would be simple and basic, so that the squash could speak for itself – it adds a lovely velvety texture and has a sweet, mellow taste. The soup could then be jazzed up if required. Here’s what I did… by the way, I deliberately haven’t mentioned any quantities here, because it will depend on how much squash you’re using. You might need a very large pan, though.
Cut the squash into chunks and peel it. Fry the chunks in olive oil with some chopped onions. Add vegetable stock (or chicken stock if you prefer) plus some fresh herbs (I tied mine in a piece of muslin to make a bouquet garni, bruising the herbs so that the flavour went into the soup) and garlic. I also added pepper, but not salt. Bring the pan to the boil and simmer until the squash and onions are soft. Liquidise the mixture (removing the bouquet garni first, which I nearly forgot to do!).
We ate the soup with a dusting of smoked paprika as a garnish. You could also use other spices such as cumin, or perhaps small pieces of crispy bacon, fried sage leaves, crème fraîche, cream, most cheeses… I’m sure there are many more possibilities, so do let me know if you discover one that is particularly fabulous.

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