This weekend, I was back in Southampton and went to the excellent 7Bone Burger Co. for dinner. I’ve written a bit about this place before. If very, very good burgers are your thing you should definitely go. This visit was the best yet and I have written about it on my other blog, 607 Square Miles, here.
One major downside to eating a double cheeseburger of that size and a side of chilli cheese fries and a scoop of coffee ice cream from Sprinkles on the way home, is that you enter the following day not being able to face eating anything. Being off my food is something of a rarity for me, and I am seldom ever completely full, but in this case it was 7pm the following day before I could even think about a meal. I subsisted the entire day on coffee.
Such an indulgent feast requires something healthy and restorative to follow it. I decided to make myself some soup. Autumn really is the best season for soup, and not only because it is getting cooler; the crop of beautiful root vegetables make it so delicious and comforting. Walking home from the market with arms full of big amber pumpkins and gnarly parsnips, I cannot help but think soup. Especially good if you have some freshly baked bread in the house and a good blanket.
This particular soup is autumn itself: butternut squash, apples and onions, given warmth with a few spices and then cooked in cider. The smell alone will be enough to rid you of any chills. You can use other types of squash, or even pumpkin, if you prefer. I used Gala apples as they have a good flavour, but any would work really. Eating in front of a good movie or your favourite box set is essential.
Butternut Squash, Curry and Cider Soup
50ml olive oil
1kg butternut squash, peeled, cored and cut into 1 inch pieces
2 apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 large onion, chopped
1 tsp curry powder
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp ground cardamom
275ml dry cider (I used Weston’s Stowford Press)
1l chicken or vegetable stock
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp ground white pepper
Heat the oil in a very large saucepan and add the butternut squash, apples and onion. Stir to coat in the oil and cook for 10-12 minutes until the onion is translucent. Add the spices and cook for a further five minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the cider and bring to the boil. Cook for three minutes before pouring in the vegetable stock. Simmer for 20-25 minutes until the squash is tender.
Remove from the heat and blend using a hand-blender (if you do not have one, you can use a regular blender, but you will probably need to do it in batches). Once smooth, return to the heat, stir in the seasoning and cook gently for a further five minutes.
Ladle into individual bowls, top with a swirl of cream and a few pumpkin seeds.
Serves six. Adapted from a recipe by Orangette.