- 3 small butternut squash, about 1.6kg (3 ½ lb) total weight
- about 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- freshly grated nutmeg
- 25g (1oz) butter
- 1 large onion, roughly chopped
- 2 large carrots, roughly chopped
- 2 large sticks celery, sliced
- 2.5cm (1 inch) root ginger, grated
- 1.1-1.3 litres (2-2 ¼ pints) vegetable or chicken stock
- sprig of fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F /Gas 6.
- Cut the butternut squash in half lengthways, scoop out the seeds with a metal spoon and discard. Arrange the squash halves cut side up in a roasting tin just big enough to hold the squash in a single layer and drizzle over the olive oil. Season each squash half with salt, pepper and freshly grated nutmeg. Pour 150ml (1/4 pint) water around the squash. Cook in the preheated oven for about 1 ¼ hours, basting occasionally, until the squash are very tender. Allow to cool.
- Melt the butter in a large pan and add the onion, carrot, celery and grated ginger. Cook for 5-10 minutes until beginning to soften. Add the stock, rosemary and seasoning, bring to the boil then partially cover and simmer for about 20 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
- When cool enough to handle scoop the flesh from the squash and add to the pan. Blend the vegetables in a liquidiser or food processor until smooth. (If you use a food processor, it is easier to process the vegetables with a little of the liquid, adding the remaining liquid to the processed vegetables to make the soup).
Taste for seasoning and serve hot with crusty bread.
TO PREPARE AHEAD - allow to cool, transfer to a suitable container, cover and keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat thoroughly to serve.
TO FREEZE - cool the soup at the end of stage 3. Pack and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for 8 hours or overnight in the fridge.
TO COOK IN THE AGA - cook the squash as in stage 1 in a roasting tin on the second set of runners in the roasting oven for about an hour until tender. Melt the butter in a large pan, add the onion, carrot, celery and ginger and cook for about 5-10 minutes, stirring from time to time. Pour on the stock, add the rosemary and season. Bring to the boil on the boiling plate for about 4 mins, cover and transfer to the simmering oven for about 20 minutes. Continue with the recipe.