A lavish vegetable soup
Winter soups tend to give me this fuzzy feeling, similar to the one you get from gazing at the lights of a Christmas tree. No matter how tasty a soup can be though, I could never consider it a main dish. Soups for me always falls under starters or under the light meal league. Given that Christmas is just 5 sleeps away now, here is a butternut squash soup to warm you up on joyful dinners for the festive days ahead.
Head straight to the recipe.
This butternut squash soup has become a classic for my festive dinners. It is the time of the year that brings everyone together around the table and preparations can be wearisome if you are catering for a large family dinner. My approach is to keep it simple, including festive classics in the menu and just a few improvisations that I know I can manage in time. A roast, or two, will find their way in the oven and take care of themselves. Quick side dishes are in order and perhaps a pie, made the day before along with a couple of freshly prepared salads. But what would a grand dinner be without a soup to start with?
This butternut squash soup came into play on my very first festive family dinner. There was the butternut squash soup with prosciutto twists, baked haddock with lemon-thyme gremollata and the classic pork roast with honey glaze. My excitement for this first family dinner was such, I was preparing and choosing recipes for days ahead. Needless to say there was no mum around to give a hand and my guests were more than a dozen. My sister had her hands busy with a toddler, people were coming and going in and out the kitchen, nibbling on snacks and to add to the excitement there was a collie dog joining the festive table, running across the house from tree to under the kitchen table. My partner was playing host whilst mingling with me in the kitchen. Everyone was so excited, it was such a task to get everyone seated amongst jokes and laughter. And there we all were around the table, with a steaming bowl of soup in front of us, sipping the first spoonfuls in utter silence. I had no clue how this butternut squash soup will be received. Then slowly, the hum of approval rose around the table and I knew this soup would stay in the classics forever.
So here it is, the butternut soup I hold so dear:
Adapted by James Martin
- 1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 2.5cm cubes
- 2 tbsp thyme honey
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 white onion, chopped
- 1 large leek, chopped
- 1 small carrot, in cubes
- 1 small potato, in cubes
- 110ml white wine
- 100 ml fresh orange juice
- 1 tbsp orange zest
- 500ml vegetable stock
- 4-5 cardamom seeds
- 75ml extra virgin olive oil
- 150ml/5fl oz double cream
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 50g crème fraiche
- 25g pine nuts, lightly toasted
What to do:
- Heat a frying pan until hot, then add squash, potato and carrot cubes, cardamom seeds and fry until tender with a bit of olive oil. Add in the finely chopped onion and leek and fry for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the wine and stock, bring to the boil and then lower to simmer.
- Place the butternut squash soup into a food processor, try to remove the cardamom seeds at this point. Add the cream, orange juice and zest and blend to a purée.
- Return the butternut squash soup to the saucepan, heat through and season, to taste, with salt and black pepper.
- To serve, ladle the soup into serving bowls, then top with a dollop of crème fraîche. Add a sprinkling of toasted pine nuts.
I hope you will enjoy this soup with really good company, like I did. I am not alone in this post of course, fellow food bloggers have put their festive mood on and they have great suggestions for the feasts ahead. Go check them out.
Evina from Cook and feel baked Christmas biscuits.
Elena from Elena is cooking made caramelised brussels sprouts with bacon.
Aris from Neanikon made Pannetone (Greek only – love his pics).
Dora from Pandora’s Kitchen made baklava tarte. (Greek only).
Eva from Real Family Food made a GF King’s Cake with coconut sugar, almonds and anthotiro.
Evi from The Healthy Cook made a chocolate Christmas tree.
Niki from To mialo sto fagito baked sesame and raisins cookies (Greek only).
Artemis from Wonderfoodland made pancakes with feta, lemon and honey.