8 August 2008

SA recipe: Butternut Soup

Mmm, butternut soup ... it's absolutely delicious. Every guest whom I serve this to asks for the recipe.

Ingredients: 2 medium butternut squashes, milk, flour, salt, mild curry powder, nutmeg, chicken (or vegetable) stock (I make mine up with 750ml hot water and 2 chicken stock cubes), 2 medium onions, an apple and some butter.

First you'll need to peel and chop your butternut squash. Roni over at Green Light Bites has a great video showing how to do this: click here.

When you've finished chopping the first butternut, go and cross "go to gym" off your to-do list. You've had your workout.

Realise you have a second butternut to do. Consider halving the recipe, but realise that would not make enough soup. Weep a little. Chop second butternut. Can you tell I hate peeling and chopping butternut? In South Africa you can buy peeled and chopped butternut at the grocery store. Now which country is more advanced?

Actually, you could certainly halve this recipe if you're only serving it as a starter, as it makes a ton. If you're making it as a meal for a family or some guests, make the whole lot. Either way, if you have too much soup you can freeze the extra.

Now chop up the two medium onions.

And saute them in a knob of butter, melted and heated. If you want to keep this soup low-fat, use low-calorie spray oil instead.

While the onions are cooking (you want them golden and soft) peel and chop the apple.

Okay, now sprinkle 1 and a quarter teaspoon of mild curry powder and a pinch of nutmeg and stir-fry a little. Add the butternut and apple and stir fry a little again.

Okay, I don't have pics of the next bit because I had to time all of the dishes and get them ready for our guests' arrival. But I'm sure you can imaging how they would look. (The pics at the end of the recipe were taken today - mmm, I love leftovers!)

Add 4 tablespoons of plain flour and stir to coat.

Add 750ml (a pint and a half) of chicken stock. Either use store-bought or homemade stock or make some up with 2 stock cubes. Feel free to use vegetable stock to keep this dish vegetarian.

Add 500ml (a pint) of milk - use skimmed milk to keep the soup low-fat.

Add a teaspoon of salt.

Now bring the mixture to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer until the butternut is tender. The time it takes depends on how big your butternut chunks are - the smaller they are the quicker the soup will cook. Once they are tender use a food processor, blender or (like I do) a hand blender wand to blend, blend and blend some more until the soup has a beautiful smooth, creamy consistency.

To serve, ladel into bowls and then try this tip: pierce a small hole in the top of a carton of cream, pierce a smaller hole opposite (for air) and then pour a little swirl of cream onto the soup.

Garnish with a sprig of herbs, a sprinkle of dried herbs or a dash of red paprika.

Copy and paste for a printable recipe:


2 medium butternuts
1 apple
2 medium onions
knob of butter/margarine OR low-cal spray oil
1 ¼ tsp medium curry powder
4 T cake flour
pinch of ground nutmeg
750 ml (pint and a half) chicken or vegetable stock
500 ml (1 pint) milk
1 ½ tsp salt

Peel, seed and dice the butternuts. Peel, core and chop the apple. Peel the onions and chop roughly. In a large saucepan, sauté the chopped onions in the butter/margarine. Add the curry powder and pinch of nutmeg and fry the mixture lightly. Add the butternut and apple and sauté the mixture for a while. Add the flour and stir-fry lightly.

Dissolve two chicken stock cubes in boiling water to make stock, or use ready-made. Add the stock, together with the milk, and salt, to the butternut mixture. Boil, with the lid on, over moderate heat until the butternut pieces are soft. Stir the mixture occasionally. Purée or blend until smooth. The colour of the soup should be a deep yellow and the texture creamy. Serve the soup hot.

Each bowl of soup may be garnished with a teaspoon of cream and a little finely chopped parsley. For an interesting variation, replace the nutmeg with a little finely grated orange rind and add a few shreds of orange rind to the garnish.

Makes 2 liters (8 cups) of soup

Make ahead: The soup can be made ahead and reheated. I wanted it made fresh, though, so the day before I diced the butternut and onion and stored them in the fridge in ziplock bags.

To serve at the dinner party: I served this in stoneware bowls, garnished as above with cream, except I used a sprinkle of dried parsly instead of fresh basil. Wish I'd thought of the basil! Oh well. I also served fresh, hot homemade bread (I use a breadmaking machine) and butter.

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