Butternut Squash, Pear and Ginger Soup
This is one of my most often requested recipes - everyone loves it. The original came from a weekend newspaper years ago but I have adapted it over time. I love the warming ginger and slightly sweet pear, which work so well with the gutsy flavour of the butternut squash. You can of course use another variety of squash or pumpkin.
1 large butternut squash (you will need 500g cooked weight)
1 medium onion
3 cloves garlic
25g fresh ginger
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
2 just ripe pears
570ml chicken or vegetable stock
125 ml double cream (optional)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Small bunch of chives
Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/350F/Gas 4. Cut the squash in half along the length and scoop out all the seeds, then cut into quarters. Lay cut side up in a roasting tray, drizzle with a little oil and cover with foil. Roast for 30-45 minutes until tender and allow to cool, then scoop out the flesh. Weigh out 500g.
Peel and finely chop the onion, garlic and ginger. Heat the oil in a large pan with a lid. Stir in the onion, garlic and ginger plus 1/2 tsp salt. Lower the heat, cover and cook very gently for 10-15 minutes, they should not brown.
Peel, core and roughly dice the pears, stir into the pot with the stock and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Add the squash.
Puree the soup in a food processor, add the cream if using. Taste and adjust the seasoning then serve garnished with chopped chives.