I have always maintained if you have only a carrot, an onion and perhaps one other vegetable, the very best thing you can make with these or equally few ingredients is soup. So when my dear friend Nali was coming over from Italy for a long overdue visit and I needed to make something warm and comforting for a late arrival, soup was the obvious answer, especially when looking around me I saw a couple of very tired looking carrots and the end of a butternut squash.
Roasting a vegetable before transforming it into soup intensifies the flavour, so I began by cutting up a large onion, peeling the carrots and cutting them into chunks along with the end of the butternut squash. I left the skin on the squash since I intended blending and sieving the soup.
For this soup you will need:
1 large onion
2 large carrots
Half a butternut squash
1 bulb of garlic
1 teaspoon of fennel seeds
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon of ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of tomato puree
2 litres of vegetable stock.
Having cut up the vegetables into chunks and sliced the bulb of garlic in half, toss these in the oil, fennel seeds and black pepper before placing in a hot oven for 20 minutes to roast. I took them out half way through to turn the veg a little.
Place the roasted veg in a large saucepan and stir in the tomato puree and cook for 2 minutes before adding the stock, simmer for a further twenty minutes.
Blend the soup and sieve before returning it to the pan to re-heat. I serve this soup with a swirl of basil oil, but a thin swirl of sour cream would also be good.
I now have a blender which has a lid that locks down, so I have no explosions blending hot liquid but do be aware that blending hot liquid in a jug blender causes rapid expansion of the liquid and the lid should be held down securely with something like a tea towel and the soup blended in batches to avoid accidents caused by overfilling the jug.
Roasting vegetables in this way produces a deeper flavour and this method would work well with, Jerusalem artichokes, parsnip or celeriac, just make sure the chuncks of vegetables are coated in oil before placing them in the oven. Roasting tomatoes and peppers in this way certainly makes for a good flavoured soup.
Having Nali home is the best thing!