Soup season has arrived, there is a chill in the air in the mornings and in the evenings you can almost smell wood-burning stoves. This time of year always reminds me of rushing home from school to a hot dinner, the fire on and getting cosy. The Danes call it hygge but I think every country has their own version of getting hygge, we just need to remember how to do it. I remember it as hot soups and stews, warm fires in the evenings, the curtains drawn and not going out after dark, it was getting your PJs on as soon as the sun went down and wrapping up in a blanket with a hot chocolate or Bournvita in my case (oh, by the way, can we please bring back Bournvita, someone please start a petition, I miss this so much! ).
I love making soup, sometimes it's a therapeutic practice for me, it helps me shift from the salad days of Summer to the cooler days and warmer foods of Autumn. But not all soups have made it to my soup bowl. I've always had a love-hate relationship with butternut squash, I love it roasted, in risotto or with pasta but I have always hated it in soup, that is until now! This roast butternut squash and parsnip soup came about because I bought too many butternut squashes the other day, and I really wanted to make soup and well I don't like wasting stuff. The problem I have with butternut squash soup is the texture. I've never liked the silky smooth texture of this soup, it almost felt slimy to me, yeah I know that sounds weird but hey we're all different, my husband has the same issue with bananas! And I'm definitely not alone on this one, I know a few people who have the same issue.
So not one to give up I figured if I roast the squash it might make a difference, I just don't know why I've never thought of doing this until now, anyway, the dilemma solved, I can now eat roast butternut squash soup! So to celebrate I'm sharing this roast butternut squash & parsnip soup today, it's topped with crispy chorizo, roasted and lightly spiced chickpeas and a crumbling of feta, because soups deserve more than just bread. This soup is a real warm your cockles kind of soup with warming spices, sweet earthy roasted garlic, roasted squash and parsnips and not to mention the toppings again but they really turn this soup into a very tasty, satisfying meal suitable for your evening meal or lunch.
Roast Butternut Squash and Parsnip Soup
- 1 medium butternut squash (850g) peeled and cut into chunks
- 3 medium parsnips (425g) peeled and cut into chunks
- ⅛ tsp each of sea salt and ground black pepper
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 4 cloves fat cloves of garlic skin on
- 1 medium brown onion (125g) peeled and roughly diced
- 1 level tsp of cumin
- ¼ tsp smoked paprika
- 4 or 5 sprigs of thyme
- 1 Litre vegetable stock
- 70 g chorizo , sliced
- 120 g cooked chickpeas
- ¼ tsp smoked paprika
- 50 g feta
- Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees C, I use a fan assisted electric oven so please adjust according to your oven.
- Place the butternut squash, parsnips and garlic on a large baking tray, add 2 tablespoons of oil, salt and pepper, make sure everything is coated in the oil then roast for 35 minutes, giving it a turnover halfway through.
- While the vegetables are roasting dry fry the chorizo slices, when nice and crispy remove from the pan and place on a some kitchen paper to soak up the oil. When it has cooled chop it up into small pieces.
- Now heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large saucepan, add the onion and cook over a low to medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until they are soft and golden. Then add the spice and cook for one minute.
- When the veg is soft and almost caramelised at the edges, after about 35 minutes, carefully remove the garlic from the roasting tray and carefully remove the skin and add the soft garlic to the saucepan, if there are any hard bits just discard them, stir the garlic into the onion spice mix.
- Now add the roasted squash, parsnips, stock and thyme sprigs, season with a little sea salt and ground black pepper, stir and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Place the drained and dry chickpeas on the oven tray the veg was on add the smoked paprika, mix well and cook in the oven for about 10 minutes, give the tray a shake half way through.
- After 10 minutes remove the thyme sprigs from the soup, and blend using a hand held blender, blend until smooth.
- Serve hot with the chorizo, chickpeas and some crumbled feta.
Notes: This soup will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days, make sure and let it cool down before you put it into the fridge. Keep the topping separate and add to the soup when re-heated.
Want to make this soup vegetarian? Leave the chorizo, and make sure you use vegetarian feta.
Want to make this soup vegan? Leave out the chorizo and feta and serve with chilli seed crackers.