This soup has become one of my favourites to make this autumn. It’s so creamy, warm and comforting in the cooler months and it’s one of those recipes that so nice to have stashed away in your freezer for when you get back late at night and you just want to throw together something warming, snuggled up on the sofa drinking it out of a mug.
Butternut squashes have a thick skin compared to other squash where the skin can be eaten. After you peel the outer skin of the butternut squash, you reveal it’s golden yellow and slightly orange interior, which is the considered the edible flesh of the squash.
My favourite way to prepare butternut squash is to roast it using coconut oil and a touch of cinnamon as it allows some of the natural sugars to surface and caramelize in the oven – and the smell in your kitchen is amazing, but for this particular recipe I’ve skipped the roasting step and just steamed it with some herbs and other veggies and it worked deliciously.
Butternut squash is one of many plant based foods high in beta-carotene which is converted in the body to vitamin A, which is a powerful antioxidant. Now that we’re entering in the autumn and winter months (a.k.a. cold and flu season for many of us), we need to protect and arm our bodies with nutrient soldiers to fight off the flu, bacterias, and viruses as much as possible. Consuming nutrient dense foods high in antioxidants that our bodies need for healthy immune function is of extra importance is you want to safeguard our body from all the colds and flus that will inevitably do the rounds in our offices. Vitamin A helps with immune function, it has anti-cancer benefits, cardiovascular benefits, it protects against inflammation, and helps our vision and eye sight stay healthy so if you’re working late hours or doing night time driving, it’s a nutrient you want to make sure is in ample supply.
Ingredients (serves 8):
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 12 fresh sage leaves
- 2 red onions , peeled and chopped
- 2 sticks celery , trimmed and chopped
- 2 carrots , peeled and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic , peeled and chopped
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary , leaves picked
- ½ – 1 fresh red chilli , to taste, deseeded and finely chopped
- 1.5 kg butternut squash, halved, skin removed, deseeded and cut into chunks
- 1.5 litres vegetable stock
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- Put a very large saucepan on a medium heat and pour in 3 tablespoons olive oil. Add the sage leaves and fry for around 30 seconds or until dark green and crisp. Remove the sage leaves and place in a bowl lined with kitchen paper – you’ll use the leaves for sprinkling over at the end.
- In the pan you’ll be left with a beautiful sage infused oil, so put it back on the heat and throw in your onion, celery, carrot, garlic, rosemary leaves, chilli and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Cook gently for about 10 minutes until the vegetables are sweet and soft. Add the squash and the stock to the pan, bring to the boil and simmer for around half an hour.
- When the squash is soft and cooked through, whiz the soup with a hand blender or pour it into a blender (I use my Vitamix) and pulse until you have a smooth purée (but you can leave it slightly chunky if you like but I prefer this soup really smooth). Taste and season with salt and pepper until it’s to your liking flavour-wise.
- Serve the soup in bowls. Sprinkle with a few of your crispy sage leaves and some black pepper and drizzle with a touch of good-quality extra virgin olive oil.