Moroccan butternut squash soup
This tasty lightly spiced soup is suitable for vegans (check the vegetable stock cubes you’re using if you’re catering for vegans). You could also make it with chicken stock and a dollop of crème fraiche if you like.
If you can’t get hold of the ras-al-hanout spice mix ready made, then try making your own – it’s a mixture of (wait for it): cardamom, clove, cinnamon, paprika, coriander, cumin, mace, nutmeg, peppercorns and turmeric. There’s no set rules about the quantities of each so experiment until you get something that tastes good to you.
Slightly interesting fact: ras-al-hanout is Arabic for ‘best of the shop’, a mix of the best spices a seller has.
Tip: scoop out the butternut squash seeds, roast them for 5-10 mins and use as a garnish for the soup. Or add salt, pepper or a seasoning of your choice and eat as a snack.
Serves 4 (as a starter)
- 1 medium butternut squash
- 1 litre of vegetable stock
- 1 small onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 good pinches of ras-al-hanout
Preheat the oven to 150°C (gas mark 2). Split the butternut squash in half, drizzle with olive oil and roast for about 45 mins. Prod with a fork to test, if it’s soft through it’s ready.
Chop the onion and garlic and fry gently in a little olive oil until the onion goes clear. Scoop out the flesh of the squash, dice and add to the onion and garlic. Fry for a minute or so then turn off the heat.
Make up the stock. Add about half of it to the pan with the onions, garlic and squash. Blend until smooth. Add more stock until the soup reaches a consistency you like (about 800-900ml should be enough) Season to taste with the ras-al-hanout and blend again. Warm through if needed, making sure the soup doesn’t boil.
Garnish with the roasted squash seeds and serve with warm pitta bread. Scoff!
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