I came back from my last trip to Orford with a butternut squash from Auntie Chrissie's allotment. I love all manner of squash and find them tasty, indicative of the changing season and also beautiful.
Meet Buddy the Butternut Squash. As part of our Ready, Steady, Cook evenings, my friend Aimee brought me a squash several years ago and we gave him a face and a name. I found it very hard to cook him, but eventually I did. In our Ready, Steady, Cook nights we each bring ingredients bought for under £5 and they should not involve too much thought but rather what catches your eye, is on offer or in season. After a catch-up glass of wine or two, both sides unveil their ingredients and a menu is spontaneously put together based on all the ingredients. It's a brilliant way to try new things....Aims, we are well overdue!
Back to the soup. I decided to make a soup with the squash and went through the fridge to see what might go well with it. All the ingredients were ones that I had but substitutions could easily be made accordingly:
Butternut squash - 800g
Chorizo - 200g
Oxtail stock - 500 ml
Peeled plum tomatoes - 1 tin
Red onion - 1
Garlic cloves - 1
Carrot - 1
Celery - 1 stalk
Olive oil - 4 tablespoons
Fresh thyme - large bunch
Smy Chutney six-pepper jelly - 1 heaped teaspoon
Smy Chutney red onion marmalade - 1 heaped teaspoon
salt and pepper to taste
First, I halved the squash and removed the seeds.
Then I quartered and roasted the butternut squash, after topping it with olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh thyme. I popped it in the top tray of the oven which had been preheated to 200 degrees C. I left it in there for about half an hour.
While the squash was roasting I chopped one red onion, several garlic cloves and 200g of chorizo.
I finely shredded a carrot and sliced one celery stalk as thin as I possibly could. I love the background flavour of celery but do not like it to dominate any dish that I am making.
The roasting squash filled the flat with such a nice smell and they looked stunning when they were done. I removed them and allowed them to cool slightly before handling.
I used the remaining olive oil from the roasting tin that the squash had been in to slowly sweat the red onions. I then added the garlic and celery and cooked for several minutes before adding the chorizo and cooking for three to four minutes on a low heat.
I then added a tin of peeled plum tomatoes, increased the heat slightly and left it to gently bubble.
Next I removed the skin from the roasted squash which I then chopped into rough cubes ensuring to keep the roasted thyme.
The roasted butternut squash and the shredded carrot was added to the pot.
Then I added half a pint of homemade oxtail stock to the pan but you could use vegetable or chicken stock, the stock was left over from an oxtail soup made earlier in the week and needed to be used. It made the soup a heartier version than if vegetable or chicken stock had been used. I wanted a bit of spice to the soup so I added a heaping teaspoon full of six-pepper jelly as well as a heaping teaspoon full of red-onion marmalade. I added half a pint of water, covered the soup and left it on a nice simmer for half-an-hour.
The butternut squash and chorizo soup was served with a crusty granary bread.
I was really happy with how the soup came out, it was rich, a bit sweet, a bit spicy and full of flavour. It's fitting that I was reminded of Buddy the butternut squash and Ready, Steady, Cook sessions as now is the time of year when it's so easy and so comforting to have homemade soups at hand. I find that there are always some potatoes, vegetables or pulses in the kitchen and once combined with a bit of onion, garlic, celery and stock you have a tasty and inexpensive option for lunch or dinner. I always try make a big batch of soup and freeze portions for those evenings when you may not have time or be bothered to cook.
it's not your chutney...
it's Smy Chutney.