Winter squashes come in many shapes, colours and sizes. I chose Turks Turban squash for this recipe as I have not used it before for cooking with and was intrigued to find out how it tasted. Its so ornamental I normally just like looking at it! It tasted good- with a pale orange flesh and a mild sweet chestnut flavour when roasted ,but you can substitute it with a different variety of winter squash. Try the easily found Butternut or Acorn , Crown Prince , Harlequin , Red Kuri or whatever variety takes your fancy. Be creative and try different types, there are so many to choose from.
You can cut off the top, scoop out the seeds to make a perfect shaped bowl to serve your soups in….
- 1.5kg winter squash, deseeded, cut into large wedges
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 green or red finger chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
- 2 lemon grass stems, tough outer leaves removed, finely sliced
- 1 large garlic clove, peeled, finely chopped
- 1 leek ( about 200g ) finely sliced
- 1 onion ( about 200g ) finely chopped
- 2 heaped tbsp fresh ginger, coarsely grated
- 500ml vegetable stock
- 1 400ml tin coconut milk
- Flaky salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 6 tbsp toasted flaked almonds
- small bunch fresh coriander, coarsely chopped
- red/orange chilli, finely sliced ( optional )
- Put the squash wedges onto a baking tray and drizzle over 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with a little flaky salt and freshly ground black pepper.Put into the middle of the oven for 30-40 minutes or until soft. Take out of the oven and allow to cool.
- Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large heavy based pan over a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic , chilli, leek, ginger and lemon grass and sauté gently for 5 minutes, stirring regularly and do not allow the mixture to brown.
- Add half of the vegetable stock to the pan, bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. allow to cool slightly.
- Using a teaspoon scoop the flesh from the skin of the roasted squash into a food processor or blender and don't worry if some of the skin falls in or sticks to the flesh.
- Add the leek and stock mixture to the food processor/blender and whizz to a puree.
- Pour the puree back into the pan, getting all the puree out of the food processor bowl/blender jug, a silicone spatula is good for doing this.
- Add the coconut milk and remaining vegetable stock, heat very gently, stirring continuously until reaching a gentle simmer, do not allow to boil. Taste and season with flaky salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with the toasted flaked almonds chopped fresh coriander and chilli slices.
Keep the seeds and roast them for a tasty snack, or dry them for planting out next year.
Great punchy flavours from the fresh ginger, lemon grass and chilli.
You can put the mixture into a food processor or blender to puree.
This soup makes a great starter for six or a generous main course for four.
Look out for flaked almonds ready toasted, you can find them in some super markets now.