This deliciously comforting soup is perfect for cold January days – the combination of seasonal butternut squash, immune-boosting ginger, a scattering of crunchy pumpkin seeds and a generous swirl of crème fraîche makes it flavoursome, warming and healthy. Eat on its own as a starter, or serve with hot, buttered sourdough toast for a heartier meal.
1 butternut squash, about 1kg,
peeled and deseeded
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp butter
2 red onions, diced
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
2 mild red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
1 thumb sized piece of ginger, finely chopped
850ml hot vegetable stock
4 tbsp crème fraîche (plus more to serve)
Small handful of pumpkin seeds
Small handful of coriander leaves (stalks chopped off)
1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Cut the squash into large cubes,
about 4cm across, then toss in a large roasting tin with half the olive oil
and spices. Roast for 30 mins, turning once during cooking, until soft.
2. While the squash cooks, melt the butter with the remaining oil in a large saucepan,
then add the onions, garlic and 3⁄4 of the chilli and ginger and coriander stalks.
Cover and cook on a very low heat for 15-20 mins until the onions are completely soft.
3. Tip the squash into the pan, add the stock and the crème fraîche, then whizz with
a stick blender until smooth. For a really silky soup, put the soup into a liquidiser
and blitz it in batches. Return to the pan, gently reheat, then season to taste.
4. In a frying pan, toast the pumpkin seeds with a little oil and salt until they pop.
5. Serve the soup in bowls and top with crème fraîche and a scattering of the remaining
chopped chilli and pumpkin seeds.