As the weather turns cold we start to think about warming comfort food. One of my favourites is this butternut and chili soup. I love the subtle heat that comes from the chili but I appreciate it is not to everyone’s taste. There are many variations that you can try – add the juice and zest of an orange, a sprinkle of nutmeg or some fresh chestnuts.
The butternut is, strictly speaking, a fruit and is considered a super food because of its high level of nutrients. It is low in calories but very high in nutrients including vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin B,magnesium and potassium. So it’s good for your eyes, bones, immune system and may help prevent against Alzheimer’s and even some cancers!
Peeling a butternut squash can be troublesome, so try roasting it whole then cut it in half and scoop the flesh to make a fantastic purée.
There are some fantastic winter vegetables available all of which are going to give you those much needed health benefits during the cold, dark winter months. Try roasting a mix of turnip, swede, parsnip, butternut and sweet potato underneath a whole chicken cut in half.
Here is my recipe for Butternut and Chili Soup.
You will need;
1 Butternut peeled and cut into chunks. Remove the seeds. One word of advice regarding peeling the butternut. The skin is very tough and you will need à sharp knife. Cut thin strips at à time and always downwards on to à chopping board.
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
2 chilis, chopped, depending how much spice you like
75g cooking butter
50g strong flour
2 stock cubes – vegetable or chicken
1.75 litres water
In a large pan over a medium/high heat put the butter, butternut, onion, garlic and chili. Cook for about five minutes, stirring all the ingredients into the melted butter. Crumble in the two stock cubes and stir. Add the flour and coat all the ingredients. Gradually add the water, mixing it in well. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the butternut is soft.
Remove from the heat and blitz with a hand-held mixer.
Serve the soup with a swirl of cream on top, or some chopped roasted chestnuts and, of course, plenty of crusty bread.