This third instalment of my 'Borough Market Challenge' was supposed to highlight an ingredient I'm obsessed with putting in everything at the moment, Butternut Squash, and while here I think I've created a pretty delicious soup, I'm rather disappointed by it. It is spicy, full of flavour and has a wonderfully smooth and velvety texture. The problem is, that while it would not quite taste right without the inclusion of the squash, you can't really taste it distinctly there, either. Yes, I seriously underestimated the potato.
However, I digress. This soup is the perfect Autumn Winter warmer, and makes one massive bowl for one, if you are very hungry (it is rather filling) or two small lunch sized bowls for two, or for a starter if your main is going to be a little bit lighter. Both my potato, and my squash which I love because it is a pigmy, like me (I'm only little!) and perfect for the likes of just me to enjoy rather than a supermarket sized larger one, from Chegwarth Farm, by the entrance of the market you'd come into if you were emerging from London Bridge Underground. While some of my spices are old store cupboard finds that I picked up at the supermarket, I now buy all my spices from one of my favourite spice designations, Spice Market opposite Chegwarth.
While most people for seasoning grab the salt and pepper, I have used my favourite Breton Fleur de Sel to season this soup, but in place of the pepper I have used fresh lemon juice. Since discovering last month that I do indeed like Indian food I've been experimenting a lot. Stay tuned at some stage for my go to curry recipe, a hybrid of a few traditional recipes I'm trying and a base recipe my friend Amy sent me. Anyway, so when I made the Indian Spiced Potatoes from Mr. Todiwala's Bombay I realised that lemon juice makes a fantastic seasoning, and as the spices used in this soup are almost identical to those on the potatoes, I decided that using fresh lemon would also be the way forward here, with absolutely fantastic results.
I was playing around here topping the soup with cumin seeds straight from the tub to cut corners, but I found that you don't get that same crunch and fantastic flavour as when you toast them first. Therefore, when you are toasting them at the start to go in the soup, add a couple of extra pinches then fish them out again to set aside for the garnish, before adding the oil and vegetables.
- 1 Large Potato
- 1 Small Butternut Squash
- 300ml (10.5 oz) Chicken Stock (you can make your own here)
- 1 tsp + Extra Cumin Seeds
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric
- Large Pinch Dried Chilli (Red Pepper) Flakes
- 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
- Sea Salt
- Fresh Lemon Juice
Peel the potato and the squash and chop them into small pieces. Heat a large saucepan and dry fry the cumin seeds and the chilli flakes for a few minutes until they are aromatic and jumping around in the pan a bit. Set aside some of the cumin seeds for your garnish. Add the oil, the vegetable cubes and the tumeric, and gently fry for about 5 minutes to allow the squash and the potato to soften slightly. It does not really matter, but you'll get a quicker cooking time if you use a softer potato variety. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Allow to cook away like this for 20 minutes until the potato and squash pieces are cooked through. Blend until smooth with a stick blender, and return the pan to the heat to heat through. Season to taste with fresh lemon juice and sea salt, then garnish on top with the set aside cumin seeds and a squeeze of fresh lemon.
You've probably noticed that I'm pretty obsessed with Winter soups, I have at least two more I want to share with you before the season is out, but for now I want to leave you with three perfectly seasonal soup links from my archives: Pea & Mozzarella Soup, A Basic Chicken Soup and A Warming Carrot Soup. Enjoy!