This Butternut Squash + Sweet Potato Soup with warming cumin, a swoosh of double cream and a generous sprinkling of toasted almonds is the perfect warmer as those autumn nights begin to draw in.
Autumn is rapidly approaching, the nights in London are noticeably getting longer and longer, and my boyfriend's hand is hovering over the thermostat. Not only is fall the most romantic time of the year, in my opinion, it's also my favourite time of the year to cook. The slow-cooker comes out for casseroles, stews and big, gravy rich pies with scoops and scoops of mash. The Accidental Chef is about to become the home of comfort food all the way through until Spring 2021, I'm so, so excited about this.
Pumpkin and Squash are coming booming into season from September onwards, meaning vibrant orange soups aplenty. This Butternut Squash + Sweet Potato soup is the perfect way for me to mark the start of my favourite time of the year - it's wholesome, warming and packed full of flavour and nutrients.
The Butternut Squash Fan Club
If you're a regular around here you'll know that I love to rave about how great certain vegetables are, the humble cauliflower gets heaps of praise from me on the regular. I love all the vegetables equally though, I promise! To prove it, today we're heaping praise on the squash! It's orange; it's versatile, it can be used in sweet and savoury dishes, it can be stuffed, diced, pureed and even used as the base for a creamy sauce (check out the Squashy Pasta Bake for more on that).
Butternut is the most readily available variety of squash here in the UK, but as "Squash Season" approaches you should start seeing more diversity on the supermarket shelves.
Not only is Butternut Squash super versatile - it's chockablock full of goodness too. It's packed full of Vitamins A + C which work as antioxidants, as well as being great for the immune system. Exactly what you need from a warming butternut squash + sweet potato soup, am I right?
Oh.... also, the Butternut Squash is TECHNICALLY a fruit. WHO KNEW?
There are just seven ingredients in this butternut squash + sweet potato soup, and each one plays its part in this delicious (+ nutritious) soup. You'll need:
- 500 grams sweet potatoes
- One medium butternut squash (somewhere between 850 grams and one kilo)
- One onion
- Three cloves of garlic
- One red chilli (you can add more if you're partial to a bit of spice)
- Half a tablespoon of ground cumin
- 600 - 800ml vegetable stock
- 20 grams of flaked almonds
The cost per portion on this recipe works out at just over 55 pence per portion when buying your ingredients from Tesco. As you'd expect from a vegetable packed soup, we're not raking in the calories with this one either, a portion comes in around 263 calories (that's before you dunk big chunks of overly buttered bread into it, just so you're aware).
Preparing the Veg
You want to start by preheating your oven to 180 celsius, then move on to peeling and dicing the sweet potatoes into relatively large chunks, so they don't cook too quickly and become burnt whilst the squash cooks. The best way to prepare the butternut squash for dicing is, first, to chop off the top and bottom of the squash, do this VERY carefully and with your fingers well out of the way. Then peel it with a sharp peeler, I use a Y- peeler.
Once you've peeled your squash, chop her in half lengthways, and scoop out all the seeds and fibrous, stringy bits from the cavity. Chop the neck from the butt (very technical term) and diced away into chunks. Toss the pieces of vegetables in a tablespoon or so of oil, season generously with salt and pepper, scatter on a roasting tin, cover with tin foil and roast covered for 25 minutes.
After 25 minutes, remove the foil, turn the oven up to 200 degrees and cook for another 15 - 20 minutes. Until the edges of the vegetables are starting to crisp, that's the hard part of your butternut squash + sweet potato soup done, that wasn't so bad, was it?
Making the soup, a soup
Whilst the squash and sweet potatoes roast, roughly slice your onion, add to a relatively large saucepan, and soften over medium heat with a small glug of oil. This will take 5 - 7 minutes. Next, add roughly chopped garlic cloves, and cook until fragrant, that'll take a minute or two. After that lob in a diced chilli (more if you want it spicy-spicy) and half a tablespoon of ground cumin, stir it all up and let it cook for a minute or so.
As you remove the sweet potato + squash, pop the flaked almonds on a baking tray, and pop in the oven for 3 - 4 minutes until super toasty - keep an eye on them, they can go from toasty to burnt-to-a-crisp pretty sharpish.
Finally, Add the roasted sweet potato and butternut squash to the pan, and add 600ml of vegetable stock for a thick soup, or 800ml for a slightly, erm, soupier consistency. Blend until smooth using a stick blender.
Swoosh over some double cream if you have it, a crack of black pepper and a scattering of toasted almonds. Voila, one batch of butternut squash + sweet potato soup.
The Soup Making Process
Some might call my soup making process a bit of a faff, but I can assure you there is a method behind the madness. There are a couple of ways to make soup. For the first one, you boil everything in a pan until your main veg is soft and tender, and then blitz it in a blender—a perfectly acceptable and time-effective way to make soup.
The other way and the way I prefer is the way we're going to do it today. Peel and chop your vegetables and then roast them in the oven until they're tender, and have taken on some colour. This way of making soup will lead to a much deeper flavour.
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Butternut Squash + Sweet Potato Soup
- 500 g Sweet Potatoes
- 1 medium Butternut Squash 900 - 1000g
- 1 Red Chilli***
- 1 medium Onion
- 3 Cloves of Garlic
- ½ tablespoon Ground Cumin
- 600 - 800 ml Vegetable Stock
- 20 g Flaked Almonds
- Pre-heat over to 180 degrees.
- Peel and dice sweet potatoes and squash*. Making sure to scoop out the seeds and fibrous parts of the squash.
- Add diced veg to a roasting tin, toss in 2 tablespoons of oil and season well with salt and pepper. Cover with tin foil and roast for 25 minutes.
- After 25 minutes, remove the foil from the sweet potato and squash, turn up the oven temperature to 200 degrees and roast uncovered for 15 - 20 minutes, until the edges start to crisp.
- Peel and roughly slice onion, add to large sauce with one tablespoon of oil and cook over medium heat for 5 - 7 minutes until translucent.
- Add roughly chopped garlic and cook for 1 - 2 minutes until fragrant, before adding diced chilli and cumin. Stir, cook for a minute or two and then remove from heat.
- Place almonds on a baking tray, remove sweet potato + squash from the oven. Place Almonds in the oven for 3 - 4 minutes - until they're well toasted.
- Add 800ml** vegetable stock to the onion and garlic saucepan, along with the roasted vegetables. Blend until smooth using a stick blender.
- Serve immediately with a swoosh of double cream (optional), a generous cracking of black pepper and a smattering of toasted almonds.