The following recipe is inspired by one from Nigella Christmas, a book which is always a great source of comfort and inspiration to me at this time of the year. Nigella Christmas is a colourful and calorie-filled collection of recipes which are ideal at Christmas, but also for parties and entertaining in general.
Oftentimes throughout the year, I find myself cooking from this book whenever we have a large gathering, particularly since a lot of the recipes are in the “serves 16-20 people” category. Though, most of the recipes can easily be scaled down to accommodate more sensible headcounts.
Nigella’s Roast Squash and Sweet Potato Soup is a lovely update on a similar recipe in Nigella Express. Although the recipe specifies butternut squash, I instead used pumpkin which is more readily available where I live.
The vegetables for the soup are first roasted in the oven with a sprinkling of cinnamon and nutmeg which later lend a gentle spiciness to the soup. As I could quite happily sit down to a tray of roast vegetables as a meal, I had to resist helping myself to a more than a few golden chunks of pumpkin and sweet potato as they came out of the oven.
I had initially thought that roasting the vegetables would be an unnecessary step, particularly in terms of washing up. But whilst roasting the vegetables would take a little longer than if you were to simply cook the vegetables in the stock, the end result is absolutely worth it; the flavours are more robust and the colour of the soup is more intense. And, to be honest, hardly any effort is required of you to stick a tray of chopped veges into the oven.
I think this soup will be a new favourite in our home, and not just at Christmas time.
One obvious deviation I took from Nigella’s recipe was to peel the veges. I know Nigella is a bit lazy sometimes and quite proud of her shortcuts, but I couldn’t bring myself to not peel the sweet potatoes, especially knowing in advance that they would later be whizzed up into the soup. Sometimes I am happy to eat roasted vegetables, like potatoes and sweet potatoes, with the skin on, but most of the time I find that the skin is an unnecessary and chewy obstacle to what could be a really good meal. So if you are using butternut squash and sweet potatoes in this soup, feel free to leave them unpeeled à la Nigella.
Nigella suggests freezing the soup but I have never thought to freeze soups of this kind before. Could anyone please tell me if vegetable soups like these freeze well? Do you lose any flavour upon thawing?
Roast Pumpkin & Sweet Potato Soup
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 1 hour 30 mins
- Total Time: 1 hour 45 mins
- Yield: Serves 4
- 700 g (1 1 /2 b) pumpkin
- 500 g (1 lb) sweet potatoes
- 1 large red onion
- olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 1 litre (4 cups) vegetable or chicken stock
- salt & pepper
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (390°F).
- Peel the pumpkin and sweet potatoes and chop them into large chunks, about 5 cm (2 inches) in size.
- Peel the onion and cut it into quarter wedges.
- Place the vegetables onto a large baking tray lined with baking paper or foil.
- Drizzle the olive oil over the vegetables, and sprinkle over the ground cinnamon and freshly ground nutmeg.
- Roast the vegetables for about 1 hour until they are golden and cooked through.
- Bring 1 litre of vegetable or chicken stock to the boil.
- Add the roasted vegetables to the stock and use a stick blender to purée the soup. Alternatively, purée the vegetables with some stock in a blender, though you will have to do this in a few batches. If the soup is a bit thick, add some more stock or hot water to thin out the soup.
- Heat the soup until it is gently simmering and taste for seasoning.
14 October 2013: I recently served this soup as a starter at a cocktail party and it was an instant hit. Poured into little espresso or coffee cups, they were a dainty surprise to our guests and it set the tone nicely for the canapés which followed. Allow guests to top up with a big jug of soup nearby.
Share your photos!
If you have tried this recipe, I would love to hear how it turned out! Please leave a comment below and share your photos on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter using #eatlittlebird
SHOP THIS RECIPE