How would we brave winter nights without steamy soups?
There is something so nourishing about a creamy bowl of soup. It brings back warm memories of my childhood and my mum’s delicious pumpkin soups which we would scoop up with generously buttered toast. It occurred to me the other day that I had never attempted to recreate this family classic. This needed to be amended immediately! Of course there was going to be a little twist to the original which came with some added fennel and spicy crisped lentils. Never fear, this soup still has the comforting essence of the original, with just a little edge to keep your tastebuds excited.
If you were in need of a wintery staple dish to get you through the next few months of chilly nights, this would be it. A deliciously smooth and creamy pumpkin soup with a hint of aniseed flavour from fennel. Roasting the veggies before blending them in to a soup really brings out the flavour and allows them to caramelise a little - a delicious improvement to the traditional stove top method. This recipe makes quite a few serves (around 6 - 8) so it’s perfect to make on the weekend and then freeze for simple dinners or lunches throughout the week.
I’m not sure if this is a common problem, but as much as my tastebuds love the flavour of this soup, my mouth can’t bear to eat an entirely liquid meal. Lentil crisp to the rescue! Topping a steamy bowl of this soup with spicy, crunchy lentils and a few extra fennel leaves makes this a perfectly well rounded meal.
So go fourth into the winter nights with confidence! This soup will be your fallback - stashed at the back of your freezer, awaiting the moment to brighten a dark, chilly night.
Roasted Fennel and Butternut Squash Soup with Lentil Crisp
This recipe is gluten free, dairy free, vegan and serves 6 - 8. Takes around 60 minutes.
YOU WILL NEED:
- A few tbsp olive oil (for drizzling on baking trays)
- 1 medium butternut squash/pumpkin (around 1.5kg), seeds removed, cubed
- 1 medium fennel bulb (around 800g), leaves and stalks removed, roughly sliced
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
- 1/8 cup tamari
- 1 400g can lentils (or 1.5 cups freshly cooked lentils)
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 1 tsp salt
- Preheat the oven to 180˚C (350˚F)
- Drizzle two large trays with olive oil and spread cubed pumpkin and fennel over trays
- Roast for around 30 minutes until the pumpkin is perfectly soft. In the final 10 minutes of roasting time add the garlic cloves
- Place the roasted pumpkin, fennel and garlic into a food processor or blender (you may need to do this in two batches)
- Process until completely smooth and then add the stock, tamari and coconut milk
- Meanwhile, drizzle another tray with olive oil and set aside
- Rinse and drain lentils and then lay out some paper towel and pat the lentils dry (this will help them get extra crispy!)
- Pour lentils onto the prepared tray and sprinkle with curry powder and salt. Stir to coat in spices then place in the oven for around 15 minutes until super crispy
- If the blended soup is not warm enough after adding the stock, return it to the stove in a large pan and warm through gently
- Serve with a dollop of coconut yoghurt swirled through and topped with lentil crisp and fennel leaves