Squash and Ginger Soup (vegan)
Squash makes the most wonderful soup anyway, and you can hardly go wrong with the simplest of recipes. This recipe is a take on one I ate in Germany in September (at the Krone in Ulm, thank you!) which has a bit more texture than a simple puree of squash and a bite more fresh ginger. The topping of toasted nutty pumpkin seeds and pumpkin oil is luxurious. I am told there are health benefits from pumpkin seed oil, but I cannot vouch personally for them, I just like using a variety of plant oils in my cooking to give me a wide range of nutrients naturally, and it seems fitting to use pumpkin seed oil on a squash soup.
The grated squash gives body to the soup, you could eat this as a meal in itself. With a piece of fresh bread you wouldn’t need anything else. Simple, warming, invigorating.
Serves 6, timings 1 hour
Chop the onion and leek finely and fry gently in vegetable oil to soften, in quite a large pan. Peel the squash and cut into 1cm cubes. Add to the pan, stir to soften and begin to cook.
Peel the ginger and reserve the best, juiciest part – about ¼ of it. Grate the larger part and add to the pan. If there are stringy bits, chop them finely and add them in too – they will be liquidised later.
Add the stock to the pan, bring to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes until the cubes of squash are softened - you can poke a knife through and feel how soft they are. If the squash needs a bit longer (if you bought ready done cubes in a pack they might not be fully fresh and could be a bit hard) then give them a bit more time.
While the soup is cooking, toast the pumpkin seeds gently for a few minutes in a small dry frying pan. Careful, they will spit and crackle. Keep moving them about to avoid burning and when light brown, put on kitchen paper to cool.
Grate the reserved slice of pumpkin and grate the nice piece of ginger. Don’t be tempted to use the stringy bits of ginger that remain on the outside of the grater – this ginger will be eaten only very lightly cooked and you don’t want stringy bits in your teeth.
When the soup is cooked, let it cool a little and then check the seasoning – add salt, pepper and a dash of Henderson’s Relish. Liquidise the soup to a velvety puree and return to the pan.
Add the reserved grated squash and ginger. Bring the soup back to a simmer for 5 minutes, then serve with a swirl of pumpkin seed oil on each bowlful and toasty pumpkin seeds on top.
A Hug from the Kitchen
Healthy, hearty, happy food, for good times and bad. Cheer yourself up, or spread the cheer around your family and friends.