Warming Autumn Soup

The view from my window at the moment is on fire with red and yellow leaves.  I live on the second floor of a block of flats, so I’m right in the top branches of the trees on my road, which, for the last six years of living here, have been my signal for when it’s time to get out my chunky knits and cosy coats.  I know it’s a cliche, but yes, autumn is my (whisper it) favourite season.  It has my birthday, it has the run-up to Christmas, I get to bring out my vast collection of ankle boots… the last three months of the year really do have it all.

Especially  (the reason we’re all here) because it has the best food and most delightful flavours.

Coming up to Halloween the shops are full of pumpkins and squash, and I love picking through all the nobbly mis-matched gourds with their speckled skin and blue-ish tints.  Squash soup is a classic dish for many reasons – it works really well, keeps easily and isn’t too time consuming to make.  This recipe has an added hit of hot sauce – I love my friends at the Plucky Pickle’s fermented hot sauce which has an extra tang, but any of the big brands like Cholula or even Siracha would work just as well!

Warming Autumn Soup

Hearty and cosy, get a pot of this going on the hob to warm you up after a brisk autumnal walk.

 

Serves 4

1 squash (about 1kg)

3 stalks celery

3 carrots

1 red onion (diced)

2 garlic cloves

1 lt vegetable stock

2 tblsp hot sauce

1/2 tsp chipotle chilli flakes

2 tsp smoked paprika or pimenton

1 tsp ground cumin

1 fresh chilli for garnish

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Method

  1. Peel the squash carefully with a knife, deseed using the back of a spoo and chop into around 2cm sized cubes.  Peel and chop the carrot, and slice the celery into sections of about 2cm.
  2. Add the diced red onion, celery, garlic, spices, two good pinches of sea salt and a knob of butter into the pan, on a medium heat. Cover and sweat until the red onion has softened and turned a little translucent (about 5 minutes).  Add in the carrots and squash and sweat for a further 10 minutes, stirring to make sure the onions don’t brown too much against the base of the pan.
  3. Pour over the stock and simmer until all the veg is softened al dente (about 25 minutes).
  4. Blend thoroughly until smooth.
  5. Stir through the hot sauce and add a little more on top along with a couple of slices of fresh chillies.
  6. Enjoy with crusty sourdough bread!