Spiced Parsnip and Butternut Squash Soup

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Summer seems to have been stolen by autumn with a particularly impudent abruptness this year. This subtly spicy, rich seasonal soup, however, might well provide you with some much-needed warmth-of-cockle whilst serving as a quick, cheap and easy evening meal.

In truth, the butternut squash was included simply because there was a superfluity in the fridge, but it does add body and give the finished article a vibrancy of colour it might otherwise have lacked. To make it, you will need (serves 4-6):

  • 500g parsnips, thinly sliced (can be peeled, but not wholly necessary)
  • 100-150g butternut squash, diced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 50g butter
  • 1-2 tbsp curry powder
  • 4-5 pound coin-sized slices ginger
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 100ml double cream
  • salt and pepper to taste

First, add the olive oil and butter to a heavy-based pan. When it reaches a moderate heat, add the onion, parsnip, butternut squash and curry powder; sweat for 10 to 15 minutes, whereupon the onions should be translucent and the vegetables beginning to soften. Once this has happened, add the stock and ginger. Bring to the boil, before turning the heat down and simmering for 20 minutes or so. Next add the cream, and cook for a further two minutes.

Now its time to take the stick blender to it: do so thoroughly, before adding salt and pepper (a goodly amount of black pepper will serve you well). At this point, those with more lofty culinary pretensions might want to pass the soup through a sieve, but I feel to do so would be to belie the heartiness the ingredients promise.

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