Some people ask me (actually no one has), ‘why do you bother making soup when you can buy low-sugar tinned soups instead?’ My retort is, ‘tinned soups are (invariably) shit, home-made soups can taste lovely, you know exactly what’s gone into them and you can make a big-batch up which can last throughout the week and/or leftover portions can go in the freezer’.
Curried butternut squash and apple soup from the Hairy Dieters is one of the nicest home-made soups I’ve made. You get the sweetness from the squash and the apples with a bit of a kick from the curry powder. I wonder if you could stick some gin and/or other liquors in this and make it into a cocktail? Hmm, maybe not.
If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on these ingredients at the present moment then give this recipe a go. My only issue is with the Hairy Dieters’ claim in their book that you can prep this in 15 minutes. Erm, chopping two onions, peeling and dicing the squash and peeling, coring and chopping the apples took me considerably longer than that. But let’s face it, we’ve all got a bit more time on our hands to spend in the kitchen right now!
Recipe: Curried butternut squash and apple soup
Calories: 152 calories per portion
Book: Hairy Dieters – Eat for Life
Prep time: Approx 30 minutes
Cooking time: Approx 40 minutes
Ingredients: 1 tbsp sunflower oil, 2 medium onions (chopped), 1kg butternut squash (peeled, deseeded and cut into 3cm chunks), 2 tbsp medium curry powder, 2 garlic cloves (crushed), 4 eating apples (about 500g – peeled, cored and thickly sliced), 1 litre chicken stock (made with 1 stock cube), 1 bay leaf, 200ml apple juice (preferably pressed / cloudy), flaked sea salt, ground black pepper
Cost per portion: Approx £0.77
Method: Heat the oil in a large non-stick saucepan, add the onions and cover the pan with a lid. Cook for 5 minutes over a medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Add the squash, cover the pan again and cook for another 5 minutes until the squash is beginning to soften and brown lightly, stirring once or twice.
Add the curry powder, garlic and apples and cook for 1 minute more, stirring constantly. Pour in the stock, add the bay leaf and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes or until the squash is very soft, stirring occasionally.
Remove the pan from the heat. Season the soup with salt and pepper and carefully blitz with a stick blender until smooth, or leave it to cook for a while, then blend in a food processor. If you like extra-smooth soup, pass it through a fine sieve into a clean pan, using the base of a ladle to press the vegetables through the sieve.
Stir the apple juice into the soup, adding a little extra if needed to get the consistency you like, then adjust the seasoning to taste. Reheat gently just before serving, stirring constantly.