Spicy Butternut Squash and Chickpea Soup.

I love soup but I’m always disappointed when I make it myself. It never tastes as good as shop bought soups or ones I have in restaurants. I can never get the soup to look as smooth as professional chefs make it and my own soup tastes horrible. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. Maybe it’s the seasoning.

I wanted to try out a butternut squash soup recipe I have in my Eat Well For Less cookbook today. To be honest, I don’t really buy butternut squash that often as my husband and son don’t like it. It’s also a pain to peel and chop if you are in a hurry. I love eating it, though. Today was a perfect opportunity to put this soup recipe to the test. I’m still on holiday until next Monday and it was only myself and the dog at home for company. Making the soup in time for lunch would be great, along with a slice of bread and hopefully if it tasted ok, I would have more for tomorrow’s lunch as well.

Apart from the butternut squash, I didn’t have to buy any special ingredients in to make the soup. The recipe makes use of storecupboard ingredients and also vegetables like garlic and onions. These are staples in my kitchen, although I’d run out of garlic! I was convinced I’d bought more when I went food shopping on New Year’s Eve but I couldn’t find it. So in the end I used a spoonful of some dried garlic granules. Instead of olive oil and chilli powder, I used some chilli oil which I had left over from a gift hamper.
I opted to roast the chopped butternut squash in the chilli oil instead of adding it to the simmering pan on the hob. I had read somewhere that roasting the butternut squash brings out it’s flavour so I thought I would try this out.

First of all, once the butternut squash was roasting in the oven, I chopped up two onions and gently softened them in a saucepan with a spoonful of chilli oil.

Once the onions were softened, I added the garlic granules, some cumin and some paprika to the pan. I would have used ground coriander instead of paprika but I didn’t have any. After that, a whole tube of tomato puree was added to the mixture.

Once the tomato puree had been stirred in, I added a litre of hot vegetable stock to the saucepan. I just used a vegetable Oxo cube to make the stock, then seasoned it to taste.

The butternut squash roasted in the oven for roughly about 25-30 minutes. The chilli oil gave it a lovely flavour and it was easier for it to soften for pureeing.

I drained and rinsed a whole tin of chickpeas for the soup. I was meant to stir in the chickpeas once the soup had been pureed but I felt that I’d rather have them blended into the soup itself. Once the soup had finished simmering away on the hob, I left it to cool down so that it would be easier to puree. I went upstairs to do some jobs and came down an hour later just in time for lunch.

I have a food processor with a jug blender attachment but my stick blender broke last year and I haven’t got round to replacing it. So pureeing soup is quite fiddly. I have to wait until it is cooled down and I ladle it into the blender bit by bit so that the hot liquid doesn’t spurt out everywhere. I did this in three batches and put the finished soup into a large jug to sit in my fridge. I then reheated one bowl of soup for my lunch in the microwave.

Well, I have to say I was very impressed with the soup. It had a lovely flavour and was perfect to warm me through on a cold day. I will be having some more tomorrow lunchtime and keeping another couple of portions in the freezer for days when I am at home for lunch. I will definitely make it again.

Love Sam xx

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