Soups are my favourite lunch during winter. They’re cheap (great for the post Christmas economy drive), healthy (well, until you start adding peanut butter to them!), quick and easy to make, and are a good way to use up left over vegetables lying around in your fridge.
As usual, I’ve found a couple of new favourites to add to the collection this year, one of which is today’s recipe of butternut and peanut butter soup (adapted from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s more wittily named “Butternut Nut Butter Soup”).
Butternut squash makes such a delicious soup just in it’s own right. After roasting, it’s flesh is succulent and sweet and becomes smooth and silky after a quick whizz in the blender.
So you’s be forgiven for thinking me slightly nutty (if you’ll excuse the pun) for adding peanut butter to something that’s so perfect already. But trust me. Once you’ve tried this peanut infused deliciousness, you’ll never return to it’s more dowdy plain cousin.
It adds wonderful creaminess, richness and, if you’re using crunchy peanut butter, an extra layer of texture to the soup.
Combined with chilli, garlic, lime juice and coriander, you end up with a dish reminiscent of something slightly Malaysian and one that’s so tasty you’ll want to lick your bowl clean in the height of bad table manners!
Butternut Peanut Butter Soup
Adapted from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Butternut Nut Butter Squash Soup
Serves 6 as a starter
1 large butternut squash (about 800g – 1kg)
1 tablespoon oil (rapeseed or olive)
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 small chilli, deseeded and sliced (or dried chilli flakes) – keep aside a little to garnish the soup with
1 litre chicken stock
10 tablespoons peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
Juice of 2 limes
10g coriander, leaves only, finely chopped plus a little extra to garnish
1. Halve and peel the squash, remove the seeds (don’t throw them away though) and cut the flesh into 1cm cubes. Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the onion and cook for about 10 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and chilli and cook for a further couple of minutes. Add the squash, a grind of salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly.
2. Pour in the stock, cover and simmer for 20 minutes until the squash is cooked through. It should be soft enough to mash on the side of the saucepan.
3. Whilst the soup is cooking, you can create a crunchy topping for it by frying the butternut squash seeds in a little olive oil for about 5 minutes. After a couple of minutes, the seeds will start to pop so cover the pan with a tea towel or plate to stop them flying all over the kitchen! Allow to cool in the pan.
4. Once the squash is cooked, use a stick blender or normal blender to whizz the soup until it’s smooth. Use a whisk to whisk in the peanut butter until all combined then bring back to a simmer.
5. Remove from the heat, add the lime juice and coriander. Serve with a sprinkling of coriander, chilli and the toasted seeds.
The soup will keep in the fridge for a couple of days. If you aren’t going to eat the soup immediately, stop at step 4 and then when you’re ready to eat, add the lime juice and coriander.