Whizzing up a soup tends to be a weekend ‘go to’ of mine, especially if I have some fresh stock on hand. I roast a chicken most Sundays and make stock with the bones (after roasting them to dry them out) and a selection of veg and herbs. Anyway, most of my soups tend to come from storecupboard ingredients (lentils and tins of tomatoes) or a need to use up ‘past their best’ veg or a combination of the two. This one is a great autumn soup and although I know it’s technically meant to be spring, it still feels like autumn, so I figured it was still appropriate. The bread is from Rachel Allen’s ‘Coast’ book and is so simple and delicious, it’s well worth the effort to make it while your soup is cooking.
Serves 4 ǀ 25 mins prep and 40 mins cooking
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 small onion or banana shallot chopped small
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 100g chorizo, peeled and chopped fairly small
- 1 heaped tbsp tomato puree
- 225g red lentils, rinsed
- 1.5 ltr veg or chicken stock, heated
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
You will also need: a heavy based rectangular roasting tin and a stick blender.
- Start by roasting your butternut squash. Place the cubed squash in a roasting tin, sprinkle over 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp dried thyme and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven preheated to 200c for 20 mins.
- Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil in a large pot and gently sweat the onion and garlic for 10 mins or so until soft, but not coloured.
- Add the chorizo and cook for a couple of minutes until the oils start to release from the chorizo, then add the rinsed lentils and cook for 1 min, stirring so they don’t stick.
- Add the tomato puree and spices, stir and then pour in the hot stock. Put on a lid and cook for 15 mins or so.
- Once the roasted butternut squash is ready, add it to the pot and season well.
- Give it another 5 mins then remove from the heat and use a stick blender to puree to a smooth soup then serve.
- 250g waxy potatoes, cleaned, with skin on, cut into 3mm slices
- 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil plus extra for drizzling
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary with leaves pulled
- 2 tsp salt and a good twist of black pepper
- 450g plain flour plus extra for dusting
- 1 level tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 400ml buttermilk
- 75g grated cheddar or gruyère
- Preheat the oven to 220c/gas mark 4.
- If you have a mandolin, it’s perfect for slicing the potatoes simply and quickly. Add the sliced potatoes to a pot of boiling salted water and boil for a minute or so – no more – then drain carefully.
- Put the potatoes on a large baking tray and drizzle with 4 tbsps of the oil and the rosemary leaves, 1 tsp of salt and some pepper – set aside.
- Make the bread dough by sifting the flour, 1 tsp salt and the bicarb of soda into a large bowl. Mix with your hand, then make a well in the centre and pour in the buttermilk. Stretch your hand out like a claw and mix until everything is combined, but don’t overmix or it will be tough.
- Lightly oil a baking tray . Sprinkle flour on your worktop and pat the dough out to roughly the size of an A4 sheet of paper then transfer carefully to the baking tray. Arrange the potatoes, rosemary and oil on top and sprinkle with the cheese, or sprinkle half with cheese if you have any non-cheese eaters at home, like I do. Bake for about 30 mins until golden and a skewer in the centre comes out clean.
- Let the cooked bread sit for another 10 mins or so on the baking tray before transfering to a wire rack to cool. Of course, if you’re anything like me, it won’t get a chance to cool before it gets scoffed. It is indeed very delicious and lovely eaten warm.