Seasonal local food recipe No.207 – Spicy, warming winter squash and ginger soup

“A rich winter warmer with a kick,” says the excellent West Country FoodLover magazine, which has this variation on a classic recipe. Use the Crown Prince or Uchiki Kuri squash in Camel CSA’s boxes.

Serves: 4

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 50 minutes

1 tbsp olive oil or large knob of butter
1 onion, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
5cm fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 tbsp honey (optional)
pinch of dried chilli flakes
1 small cinnamon stick
900g winter squash, like Crown Prince or Uchiki Kuri, peeled, deseeded and diced (keep peel and seeds)
900ml hot stock, with muslin bag of peel and seeds

Heat the oil or butter in a large heavy-based pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 3–4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and add the garlic, ginger, chilli flakes and cinnamon stick and cook for a few seconds before adding the squash. Add a little more oil/butter if needed. Add the honey (optional).

Put the seeds and peel in a thin muslin cloth and securely tie at the top. Pour in a little of the stock, increase the heat and scrape up the bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the remaining stock, and the muslin bag, and boil for about a minute. Reduce the heat to a simmer; cover with the lid and cook for about 45 minutes until the squash is soft and the flavours have developed.

Remove the cinnamon stick, and whiz with a stick blender until smooth. Add hot water if the soup is too thick. Transfer to a clean pan to heat through, and season if required. Serve with wholemeal or rye bread.

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