We had a bit of the sniffles go around the family recently and some of my older family members got hit a bit harder than others. It’s written in stone somewhere that a cold requires either stew or soup, but I don’t have so many recipes for stews or soups, so it was a good time to come up with something new.
I decided on a soup. The soup was poorly persons’ soup, so it needed to be warm, comforting and filling.
I knew there was a butternut squash lurking around in the bottom of my fridge. It had lurked for about 2 weeks waiting to become… something. If it lurked for much longer it would become inedible. Decision made! Butternut soup it would be!
When I rescued the butternut squash from the fridge I also realised I had some lurking carrots; those would be added in.
There are foods like lemon, honey, and ginger that are supposed to be good for helping to fight colds. I am not sure I really believe in the virus killing properties of foods and, in fact, I suspect the idea is that you are pleasantly distracted while the virus is conquered naturally. But if it won’t help it won’t hurt and the list of supposed healing foods gives me good ideas on where to start.
So, one by one… Lemon. Lemon soup? Err… no! Ditch the lemon.
Honey? Butternut squash carries a fair few carbs without adding in honey and is quite sweet regardless, so I decide honey is an unnecessary sugar addition.
Ginger? Ginger sounds nice. I decide to add it in.
My fresh ginger which was also lurking had lurked into something unnameable which belonged on a compost heap. I threw it into my biodegradable bin and went out in the heat of Summer to go get some that was a tad fresher.
The supermarket employee at the fruit and veg section is a very nice man with a very bad hairstyle. I think I am just too old now to appreciate the man bun and he saw me as a yoga-pants mom and didn’t care if I didn’t like his young and hip hairstyle! Hairstyle disagreements apart it did not stop us having a discussion on the healing qualities of ginger in improving health. He swore by its healing properties along with turmeric and garlic. Taking his advice, turmeric and garlic also got added into my soup.
I added in an apple for a bit of extra. An apple a day keeps the doctor away, so they say. I am not so sure it does, but apples do help add flavour. More flavour is always a good thing.
I need an aromatic for the recipe and my go-to aromatic is fennel purely for tummy health reasons. If you have bloating or upset tummy issues try dropping out onions for a week or two and see if it helps, you might be surprised:) In addition to this some time ago I was making my first try at online shopping from a local supermarket. I ordered 6 fennels or so I thought… I had actually ordered 6kg of fennel. This, as it turned out, was a lot of fennel! I had to blitz most of it through the food processor and put it into bags for the freezer. I have been working my way through this mound of bags for about 2 months now so the more I can use the better. I will get to the end! Eventually! And then next time I will know 6 is 6kg, not 6 fennels!
So back to the soup, what else can I add? Well, nutmeg and cinnamon always make me think warm and comforting so in they both go as well. Mix it all up with stock and add coconut cream for creaminess.
Experiment on two old folks known as Mum and Dad, or more often Grandma and Grandad, who are still in Malta visiting. I got a thumbs up from both of them. Go, me and my awesome Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup!
We all agreed if you add about 2 more cups of stock to this it will still taste just as good and serve another person or two; however, I left the recipe exactly as we had it for the sake of authenticity. The choice then is up to you – super thick and comforting (recommended) or more soup-like liquidy (thrifty)!
Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup
- 1 medium butternut squash peeled and deseeded (about 900g)
- 5 medium carrots peeled, topped and tailed (about 300g)
- 1 medium apple peeled and cored
- 1/2 medium fennel (about 115g)
- 450 ml chicken stock (2 cups)
- 450 ml beef stock (2 cups)
- 2 x 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp fresh ginger
- 1 clove garlic
- pinch black pepper
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 cup coconut cream
Roasting the butternut squash and carrots
- Preheat the oven to 200 deg C.
- Dice the butternut squash and the carrots into 2 cm long pieces.
- In a large bowl mix the butternut squash, the carrots and 2 tbsp of the olive oil with the salt.
- Spread them out on a large baking tray and roast for 35 mins turning half way through.
Making the soup
- Finely dice the fennel and the apple.
- In a large pot heat the remaining olive oil over a medium heat and add the fennel and the apple.
- Cook the fennel and the apple until they soften, about 10 mins.
- Add the roasted butternut squash, the roasted carrots, the ginger, garlic, black pepper, turmeric, nutmeg and cinnamon. Stir it all together for 3 mins.
- Add the chicken stock and the beef stock and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 30 mins.
- Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the coconut cream.