Roasted squash is a great base for a winter soup, getting it nicely chard (not cremated) gives the soup a great smokey flavour and the chilli lifts it to another level. If you want you can also add smoked paprika
1 large butternut squash
2 cloves garlic, lightly bashed but left whole
1 onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 red chilli, chopped
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp hot chilli powder (optional but use if you want extra heat)
6-8 cherry tomatoes
600ml chicken or vegetable stock
squeeze of fresh lime
A great bonfire night warmer.
Cut the squash in half lengthways, remove seeds and score the flesh in a criss-cross fashion. Place on a baking sheet, rub with olive oil, season and pop a garlic clove in each seed cavity. Roast in a hot (220C) for about 40-45 minutes or until the flesh is soft and slightly charred.
Meanwhile, fry the onion in olive oil in a large pan until it starts to soften and brown. Add the red pepper, fennel and cumin seeds and continue frying for about 10 minutes, stirring. Next add the red chilli and chilli powder and fry for a further 2-3 minutes.
When the squash has been in for about half an hour, add the tomatoes to the baking tray along with a splash of olive oil and more seasoning and continue roasting for another 10-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and when the squash is cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh away from the skin into a bowl. Discard the skin and roughly chop the flesh. Add to the pan along with the roasted tomatoes. Mix and then add the stock. Bring to the boil then cover and simmer for about 10-15 minutes.
Blend until smooth. Taste to check the seasoning then squeeze in some fresh lime juice. Serve drizzled with a little cream if you like. Freezes well.