Butternut squash and pepper soup, with roasted garlic and parmesan cream

The first time I cooked for my boyfriend’s family, I made this soup as a starter. It’s pretty filling, actually, so will easily make a main dish if you serve it with bread. It’s quite sweet so can definitely take curry powder or chilli, but I like it to taste mostly of garlic so I don’t bother with extra spice. A word of warning: Turney soups tend to be thick enough to stand the spoon up in the bowl. If you like a more traditional soup, add more stock. No vampires will bother you after eating this, either.

Serves 6

1 large butternut squash
2 sweet potatoes (or another squash)
2-3 red peppers
2 bulbs garlic (yes, really)
Oil for roasting
1 tin tomatoes
500ml hot stock
Dash of single cream (optional)
1 small pot creme fraiche
Fresh coriander (optional)

Pre-heat oven to hot (gas mark 7, 220 degrees). Cut the squash into chunks. Roast for about 15mins with both whole garlic bulbs. Peel the sweet potato if using, and cut it into chunks. Add to the squash and roast for another 10mins. Halve and de-seed the peppers, and add them to the roasting tin skin-side up. Cook for another 25-30mins, until squash and potatoes are squishy and the peppers are blackened and blistered on the outside. Leave to cool.

Once cool enough to handle, remove the skin from the squash with a sharp knife, and scoop out the stringy seedy bits. You should be able to peel the skin off the peppers with your fingers. Chuck all the veg into a big pot with the tomatoes and stock, and squeeze one bulb’s worth of garlic into the mix. Stir, then bring to the boil. Simmer for 10-15mins. Stir in torn coriander, if using.

Soup after whizzing, before adding cream

Meanwhile, squeeze the remaining garlic into a bowl with the creme fraiche and lots of grated parmesan. Taste. Try not to eat the whole bowl.

Tastes nicer than it looks – promise!

Whizz the soup (as much or as little as you like, I make this one quite smooth which is unusual for me). Stir in a splash of cream, if you like, and serve with a dollop of the creme fraiche mix in each bowl. You can leave out the cream/creme fraiche if you like – just grate some parmesan over each bowl.

Soup, beautiful soup…

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