It’s dark out, you’re feeling cold, perhaps a little under the weather, and rather fatigued. Cue the perfect pick-me-up: a nourishing bowl of warmth in the form of a restorative roasted squash soup. Thanks to the pep from garlic, chili and ginger, you’ll be back on your feet and ready to tackle the day again in no time.
roasted squash chili ginger garlic soup
makes 4-6 servings, depending on the size of your servings
I made this soup twice in the space of a week. If you know me, you’ll know I’m a big fan of no-repeats. Don’t get me wrong: I could eat the same leftovers for days (if not weeks) on end. What I really don’t enjoy is cooking the same thing over and over again in a short space of time. So you just know this soup’s got something going for it.
• a small pumpkin or winter squash, or ½ a large one peeled and cut into medium cubes
• 2 or 3 large cloves of garlic grated with a microplane or finely minced
• 5 cm/2 in. of ginger, fresh or frozen grated with a microplane or finely minced
• 1-3 small chilis (or 1-2 tsp chili flakes, in a pinch), depending on how spicy they are and how hot you like your food finely chopped
• scallions or chives about 2 Tbsp’s worth, thinly sliced
• 1 cm/½ in. turmeric, fresh or frozen or 1 tsp dried if whole, grated with a microplane or finely minced
• 1 small carrot (optional)* finely chopped
• 1 rib of celery (optional)* finely chopped
• 1 banana shallot (optional)* thinly sliced into half-moons
• around 500-750mL of water or vegetable stock* hot
• olive oil extra virgin
• salt coarse or flaky sea or rock salt
*if you skip the carrot, celery and shallot, definitely use vegetable stock instead of water; if you just use water, feel free to add to it a few teaspoons of your favourite dried herb blend
1. Preheat the oven to 200C fan/220C/425F. Toss the squash in a bit of olive oil and salt, then place on a baking tray and roast for around 30 minutes, or until the squash is starting to look caramelised and a bit brown on the edges.
2. In a medium saucepan on low heat, add just enough olive oil to shallowly cover the bottom of the pot. Once the oil is hot, add in the garlic, ginger, chili(s) and turmeric, half of the scallions or chives, plus a pinch of salt.
3. Optional: Once everything is all nice and fragrant, add in the carrot, celery and shallot. Bring heat up to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, and leave to soften and mingle with the other flavours for a few minutes (without browning).
4. Add the roasted squash into the pot, stir through and cook for around 5 minutes more, adding a bit more oil to the pot if things start to catch.
5. Pour in 500mL of hot water (or hot vegetable stock, if you skipped step 3), season with a bit more salt, stir, and leave to simmer gently for 15-20 minutes before blending smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning and soup thickness, adding more liquid if necessary, according to your taste.
Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkling of flaky sea salt, the rest of the scallions or chives, a few pumpkin seeds and a tiny dash of powdered smoked paprika (or smoked chipotle). Perfect for making large batches and freezing in small containers for another day. Makes a great gift too!