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Author Notes: This was inspired by a delicious Moroccan-inflected pumpkin soup in the cookbook Moro East and a spectacularly awful squash and blue cheese soup that I had in a Scottish cafe. I kept Moro's technique of caramelising the squash and onions until they reached their sweet-and-savoury peak, but I wanted more of a European tinge in my flavourings. I banished the blue cheese from the soup itself and combined it with the remains of a bag of walnuts to make a variation on the classic trifecta of squash, cheese, and nuts. I imagine a bit of sage to garnish the soup would go down a treat, too! —S.I.Chamberlain
Serves 3, with leftover butter
- 1 1.5 pounds butternut squash
- 4-5 sprigs thyme, leaves stripped
- freshly-ground pepper
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 quart vegetable stock
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup, optional
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F.
- Cut the top and bottom off of the squash, then slice it in half lengthways. Scrape out the seeds like it’s a miniature version of a Halloween pumpkin. Then peel each half. After all that palaver, cut the remaining flesh into 2cm/1-inch cubes. Toss the squash in a roasting pan with the thyme leaves, salt, pepper, and two tablespoons of the oil. Roast in the oven for an hour.
- 20 minutes before the squash is done, warm the remaining oil in a medium saucepan over a medium flame. When hot, add the onion and turn the heat down to medium-low. Sauté the onion slowly until it’s very soft and just starting to go brown, around 15 minutes. Then add the garlic slices and sauté for another 2-3 minutes.
- Add in the roasted squash and the stock, and bring everything up to a simmer. Then remove from the heat and blitz with an immersion blender until completely smooth. Taste for seasoning; if your squash isn’t sweet enough for your palate, stir in some maple syrup. Serve with toast, optionally spread with gorgonzola-walnut butter.
- 3.5 ounces gorgonzola
- 1 ounce salted butter
- 1.5 ounces walnuts, toasted
- If not using a food processor, finely chop the walnuts. Then put all ingredients in either a mixing bowl or the bowl of a food processor. Pulse in the machine until well-combined and a little fluffy, or mash with two forks until mixed.