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Hallowe'en 'Pumpkin' Soup

publication date: Oct 26, 2011
author/source: Fiona Beckett
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Butternut squash makes the most fabulous velvety deep orange soup - perfect for Hallowe'en. Don't be tempted to substitute the inside of your scraped-out pumpkin - it unlikely to have anything like the same depth of flavour.

Serves 4-6
Time: Just over an hour
Cost: about 75p-£1 a head

2 medium or one large butternut squash (about 1-1.15kg)
4 tbsp sunflower or light olive oil
1 large onion roughly chopped
1-2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
2-3 tsp Moroccan spice mix (see below)
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
850ml (1 1/2 pints) stock made with 3 tsp Marigold vegetable bouillon powder or a vegetable stock cube
1/2 - 1 tsp hot pepper sauce or a few drops of Tabasco (optional)
1 small carton sour cream
3 generous tbsp roughly chopped coriander leaves

You will also need some kind of blender or food processor

Heat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas 5. Rinse the butternut squash under the cold tap, dry them then cut them in half lengthways with a large knife and scoop out the seeds. Put 2 tbsp of the oil in a roasting tin then lay the four halves in the tin cut side down. Bake for about 40 minutes until soft. Remove from the oven and set aside for 10-15 minutes until cool enough to handle. Meanwhile fry the onion gently for 10 minutes in the other two tablespoons of oil until soft. Add the crushed garlic and Moroccan spice mix, stir, cook for a minute then tip in the chopped tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes until thick and jammy. Scoop the pulp out of the squash. Place about a third of it in a blender or food processor along with a third of the spiced tomato mixture, a bit of stock and any juices in the baking tin and whiz until smooth. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Pour the soup back into a large saucepan and stir in the rest of the stock. Add hot sauce and salt to taste and a little extra liquid if you think it needs it. To serve pour the soup into bowls, spoon over a swirl of sour cream and scatter over a few coriander leaves.


* If you only have a hand held blender cook the onion/tomato mixture in a large saucepan, add the cooked squash to it then blitz it in the pan before adding the stock.

* What I call Moroccan spice mix is a home-made spice blend that I find invaluable for seasoning all kinds of dishes. Mix 2 level tbsp each of ground coriander and cumin with 1 tbsp turmeric and 1-2 tsp chilli powder, depending how hot you like your food and keep in a jam jar or airtight tin or plastic box. Use to taste - about 2-3 tsp at a time


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