What a couple of weeks its been - the frenzied back to school shopping, whoops of delight or groans of despair when the schedules arrived, then finally there it was lumbering down the road - the school bus. I decided since it was back to the classroom for the girls it was a great opportunity for me to get my house in order after a long hot summer.
I never used to worry much about organization, everything seemed to work out, I didn't forget to turn up to too many occasions but over the years I've reemerged as somewhat OCD. All my pencils have to be sharpened with tips pointing upwards, I enjoy reading books on how to organize the home - in fact I think I could write one - I get anxious when that demon of demons - clutter - creeps up on me. Sixteen garbage bags later and one trip to the thrift shop and I'm feeling a little calmer, surfaces are gleaming, windows sparkling, all the appliances in the home are humming. With all the cleaning and organizing there's been little time for cooking and that's the beauty of this soup - it cooks itself. All you have to do is chop up the ingredients, place them in the pot, go and fold yet another load of laundry, then puree the soup when its ready. It tastes deliciously silky, smooth and utterly divine, I felt peaceful just sipping it.
Perfectly Silky Smooth Butternut Squash Soup.
adapted from a recipe by Nigel Slater.
1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks.1 large onion, peeled and chopped
Olive oil and 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
32 oz organic chicken stock
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of paprika
Toasted pumpkin seeds for garnish.
Fresh herbs and heavy cream - optional
In a large Dutch oven or saucepan, heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and the butter until foaming.
Add the butternut squash and onion, sprinkle with salt and sauté on medium heat until just caramelized, approximately 10-15 minutes. Keep a close eye on it and stir well to stop it burning.
Add the chicken broth, bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer. Add a couple of grindings of black pepper. Partially cover the pot and allow to simmer for about 20-30 minutes or until the squash and onion is very soft.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes or so, then blend either with an immersion blender or regular blender until you have a smooth silky soup. Add the paprika.
Garnish with some toasted pumpkin seeds, freshly chopped herbs, sage would be nice and a tiny swirl of cream if you wish.