This is one of my favourite autumn soups and it follows my preferred recipe mantra – simple, inexpensive, tasty! It can be made with pretty much any squash but, this is the important twist, it must be made with freshly ground mace to deliver the unique flavour. Mace is the amber coloured, fragrant, lacy outer casing of a nutmeg. You can buy it from ethnic or speciality grocers (Butterworth’s in Bury St Edmunds on the Traverse). Store it in screw top jar and then whizz it up in an electric grinder when you need it – it keeps for ages and adds a wonderful flavour to e.g. yellow split pea soups, dahls, spiced cakes or buns and pumpkin dishes. Roasting the vegetables first creates a wonderful depth of flavour, far nicer than just simmering them in stock. It will easily feed four people and freezes well.
You will need…
- 1 butternut or other autumn squash, peeled and de-seeded
- Optional: 1 cob of fresh sweetcorn
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
- 2 tablespoons, light olive oil
- 5 g butter
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground mace
- 1 litre chicken stock
- Maldon Salt
- To top: choose from a mixture of crumbled feta, chopped bacon, snipped chives, chopped chestnuts, extra virgin olive oil, black pepper
- Pre-heat to oven to 200°C.
- Chop the squash into small chunks. Add the chunks and the garlic and onion to a large, open roasting dish. Coat the vegetables in oil, butter and mace. Roast for about an hour until soft and slightly caramelised.
- Once cooked, turn into a large saucepan and add the chicken stock. Blend until smooth with a stick blender. Season to taste. If it seems too thick, and add a little more water to thin it down.
- Add the sweetcorn if using and simmer for a few minutes to heat the soup through and cook the corn.
- Ladle into warmed soup bowls and top with crumbled feta, chopped bacon and drizzle with a little oil.