A steaming hot bowl of soup is, for me, the culinary equivalent of a big hug from someone wearing a Nordic Sarah-Lund-style jumper. Cosy. I love the ritual of making it – sautéing the onion, adding the vegetables, the stock, seasoning, simmering, stirring, ladling it into pre-warmed bowls (if I’m organised), and finally dipping my spoon in and devouring it, preferably with toast slathered in butter on the side.
Luckily for me my family shares my love of soup, so Saturday lunch is more often than not soup for all; even when I was weaning the little ones, I’d just omit the salt and liquidize the soup in batches, leaving some as thicker purée, perfect for babies and toddlers.
This soup is really easy, and a brilliant one to make in stages as there is a bit of prep involved (although you could always cheat and buy ready-prepared butternut squash – who’ll know?). Roasting the vegetables first is a bit different, but gives them a sweet, almost caramelized flavour, and the sweet potato gives the soup a silky smooth texture.
Perfect for a chilly November or December day, and the sweetish flavour usually goes down very well with babies, toddlers and older children. It also freezes beautifully – hurrah. Why not make double?
What you need
1 butternut squash peeled, seeded and cut into chunks
2 sweet potatoes, peeled, chopped and cut into chunks
3 or 4 carrots, peeled, chopped and cut into smaller chunks (they take longer to roast)
Sprig of rosemary
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
Knob of butter
1 litre vegetable or chicken stock (I like Kallo chicken stock or Marigold veg stock)
What to do
Peel and chop the squash, sweet potato and carrots when you have a 10-minute window of time, such as when baby is happily sitting in her bouncy chair, or having a nap. You can then put your pre-prepared veg in a container in the fridge, or on the side until you are ready to make your soup. If children happily occupied, carry on to the next stage.
Stage 2 (another self-contained step)
- Pre-heat your oven to 200°C/180°C Fan/400°F
- Line a decent-sized baking tray with foil (to save scrubbing it later – yay!) and add your pre-cut vegetables, then drizzle with olive oil and season. Add the rosemary, and toss the vegetables with your fingers.
- Roast the vegetables in the hot oven for around 30 mins, turning halfway. You want them to be soft. Remove from the oven, remove the rosemary sprig and set aside.
Again, if at this stage you need to pause, you can. It doesn’t matter if the roasted veg go cold as you just reheat the soup at the end.
Stage 3 (to be done while the veg are roasting, or as a separate stage)
- Heat a dash of oil and a knob of butter in a heavy-based pan (I use a Le Creuset), and add the onion. Sauté over a medium to low heat for a good 10 minutes; you want the onion to be nice and soft. Stir occasionally.
- Blend your roasted vegetables, softened onion and stock together in a liquidizer. Reheat in the saucepan and serve.