MEXICAN SQUASH SOUP

October is and the month of the pumpkin – a type of squash. Thanks to my local veggie shop an abundance of squash has arrived and my kitchen looks like a Halloween shop. Squash has a thick skin so they store very well if you keep them somewhere cool and dark. Roasted, baked or pureed squash provides a filling and satisfying base to any meal.

This is a great winter warmer soup if you are are feeling the cold. Ive been inspired to bring a little warmth to my belly with the help of some Mexican spices – a perfect complement to a creamy squash soup. The spices needed should be hiding in your cupboards so just pick up the soup basics of carrot, onion and garlic, arm yourself with fresh coriander and lime, and make this recipe a part of your winter repertoire.

INGREDIENTS:(use organic ingredients where possible, serves 4 people)

The Bone Broth:

  • 1 chicken carcass or a few beef/lamb bones
    Filtered water
    Bay leaves

The Soup:

  • 2 tablespoons ghee or butter
    2 teaspoons ground cumin
    1 teaspoons smoked paprika
    1 small pinch of cayenne pepper
    1 small pinch of cinnamon
    1 teaspoon oregano
    6 large cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
    3 large onions, roughly chopped
    1 large butternut squash halved (you can use other squash but they are not as sweet)
    4 medium carrots, roughly chopped
    A large bunch of fresh coriander, stems and leaves
    Juice of half a fresh lime

HOW TO:

  1. Place a chicken carcass or 1kg of of beef or lamb bones and a few bay leaves into a large pot and cover with filtered water by at least two inches.
  2. Bring the bones to a boil and skim off any foam that rises to the top.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, covered for at least six hours for the chicken . I know this is a long time however this broth can be used throughout the week and can be frozen.
  4. Strain the stock and it’s ready to use (beef bones produce a lot of nutritious fat – skim some of it and save it roasting vegetables). Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to three days or freeze the stock in a glass container.
  5. Preheat the oven to 220C.
  6. Halve the squash and roughly chop the carrots. Lay them on a baking tray and roast for 30-40 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
  7. Meanwhile toast all the spices in a dry large saucepan for a minute on a medium heat and stir a little to stop them burning.
  8. Add the ghee, onions and garlic to the pan and fry on medium until the onions are soft – about five minutes.
  9. Then add the roasted carrots and squash – scooping the flesh from the skin.
  10. Cover with the hot stock, add a large pinch of sea salt and pepper and throw in the coriander stems saving the coriander leaves.
  11. Put a lid on the pan, bring to the boil and let simmer for 5-10 minutes for the flavours to get to know each other.
  12. Blend in batches and taste for seasoning.
  13. Squeeze some lime juice into each bowl of soup and top with some freshly chopped coriander leaves.