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
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.
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.