Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Recipe: Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Pancetta & Thyme

As the days get shorter and the weather gets cooler, there’s nothing quite like a bowl of nourishing soup to warm you up. I love butternut squash so use it regularly along with other vegetables in the soups that I make for my family but here I have decided to showcase its unique flavour without too many additions.
 
The roasting of the butternut squash intensifies its flavour and in my opinion is really worth doing… Plus it gives you the opportunity to crisp up some pancetta at the same time which can be used as a garnish on the finished soup.  This is a lovely seasonal soup which is packed full of autumnal flavours and is incredibly easy to make.

INGREDIENTS:
 
Roasted Butternut:
1 large butternut squash, cut into large chunks (no need to peel)
2 cloves of garlic crushed
A few sprigs of thyme
1tblsp olive oil
A large knob of butter
6 slices of pancetta or smoky bacon
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to season
 
To finish:
1tblsp olive oil
1 medium-sized onion, peeled and chopped
500ml vegetable or chicken stock
50ml double cream or crème fraiche
Some fresh thyme leaves
 
METHOD:
 
Roasted Butternut:
  1. Preheat the oven to Fan Oven to 180C/Fan Oven 160C/Gas Mark 4.
  2. Place the butternut squash, garlic and thyme in a roasting tray. Drizzle over the olive oil and toss everything together. Pinch the butter into little pieces and dot over the butternut squash.
  3. Drape the pancetta over the squash, season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and roast in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes until the pancetta is crispy and the squash has softened. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Remove the pancetta to a plate and set aside.
 
To finish:
  1. Scoop the softened butternut squash from its skin, once it has cooled a little.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium-sized saucepan over a moderate heat and gently fry the onion until softened but not coloured.  Add the butternut squash to the saucepan with the onion and add the stock and bring up to the boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for ten minutes.
  3. Purée the contents of the saucepan in an electric blender (do this is batches) and return to a clean saucepan. Add the cream and stir through. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
  4. Serve the soup in bowls. Crumble the reserved pancetta and serve sprinkled on the soup along with some fresh thyme leaves if desired.
 
Serves 4-6.