Mexican-spiced squash soup
This is a variation on a basic squash soup with some added flair. I used red kuri squash which has dense orange flesh and provides a lovely creamy texture. Other squashes would work well too - kabocha, hokoido, acorn , crown prince and butternut have similar taste and texture.
2 small carrots
500ml vegetable stock
1 medium onion, diced
1 small leek, sliced
3 cloves garlic
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
400g chopped tomatoes, fresh or canned
1 tsp smoked paprika
salt & pepper to taste
1 small can sweetcorn (or 2 fresh cobs)
First roast your squash. Pre-heat your over to 180 degrees C. Cut the squash into chunks, put them onto a baking tray and coat with some olive oil and a pinch of salt and cover with tin foil. Roast for about 30 minutes, until the squash is tender.
While this is cooking, prep the other vegetables and make the stock. Put a large saucepan on a medium heat and add lug of oil olive, enough to cover the base of the pan. Add the onions and leeks and fry for a few minutes then add the chilli and garlic and continue to fry for another few minutes until soft and aromatic. Add the carrots, chopped tomatoes and smoked paprika and let simmer for about 10 minutes until the carrots are tender and the tomatoes have broken down. The squash goes in next so if this isn't ready yet just turn off the heat and put a lid on the pan while you're waiting.
Once the squash is cooked, leave it to cool for a few minutes and then remove the skins (this is much easier to do once cooked). Add the squash to the pan and give it a stir so its all coated with the lovely smoky tomato sauce. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down to a low simmer for about 5 minutes.
Transfer to a food processor or blender and blitz on a high setting until a smooth creamy texture. You may need to add some more water at this stage to thin it out as it can get quite thick.
Transfer the blended soup back into the saucepan, add salt & pepper to your taste and stir in the sweetcorn. I also added some fried corn as a topping - this is optional but adds a bit of extra pizzaz. Just put aside 2 Tbsp sweetcorn and pan-fry on a high heat, with some oil, until crispy and slightly browned.
To serve, transfer to bowls, add a drizzle of cream (I used oat cream) and some chopped coriander.