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 and golden root veg such as parsnip and carrot 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 – store it in a 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 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. Adding creaminess with double cream or coconut cream adds an extra flavour twist or into a vegan recipe. It will easily feed four people and freezes well.
- 1 butternut or other autumn squash, peeled and de-seeded
- 2 parsnips, peeled and chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
- 2 tablespoons, light olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground mace
- A grating of nutmeg
- A pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 50ml double cream or a 250ml pack of coconut cream
- Maldon salt and ground black pepper
- 1 litre of chicken or veg stock
- To top: choose from a mixture of crumbled feta, chopped bacon, snipped chives, chopped chestnuts, extra virgin olive oil, black pepper or, for the coconut version – freshly squeezed orange juice.
- Pre-heat to oven to 200°C.
- Chop the squash, carrot and parsnip into medium-sized chunks. Add the vegetables and onion to a large, open roasting dish. Coat the vegetables in the olive oil. Roast for about 40 minutes to an hour until soft and slightly caramelised.
- Once cooked, turn into a large saucepan and add enough stock to about 4cm above the line of veg. Add the spices and seasoning. Blend until smooth and velvety with a stick blender. Season to taste and stir in the cream or coconut cream. If it seems too thick, and add a little more water to thin it down.
- Ladle into warmed soup bowls and top with your favourites – crumbled feta, chopped bacon, parsley etc. and drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil. I like the coconut version to be drizzled with a squeeze of fresh orange juice.
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