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As the weather is getting colder I thought it was time to get out and dust off my slow cooker which hadn’t been used since last winter!! I love soup, it’s such an easy way to get a lot of vegetables into your diet and I often make a huge batch and take it to work with me to have for my lunches. And as autumn is here, i knew I wanted to make soup with the abundance of squash that is in season and in the shops now.
I decided on Butternut Squash Soup as its hearty and filling and so easy to make, especially if you do it in the slow cooker. You just chop everything up and leave it to cook overnight and then blend it the next day. I decided to add cumin because I love the smoky, spicy flavour that it adds and it goes so well with butternut squash and chilli.
Butternut squash is notoriously difficult to prepare but if you have a sharp knife it doesn’t take too long (just watch your fingers!) I like to chop off either end and then use a potato peeler to remove the skin. Then I slice it into rounds, about 1/2 an inch think and then slice each one of those into pieces (make sure to remove the seeds – you can roast them in the oven alongside the squash with some cumin or other spices for a tasty snack).
So how to make it…You can skip this first step if you like and just add the squash raw to the slow cooker, but I like the smoky chargrilled flavour that roasting it first adds to the final soup. To roast the squash you drizzle some olive oil over the chopped pieces and plenty of salt and pepper. Place them into a preheated oven at 180C for about 40-45 mins or you can check out My Ultimate Guide to Roasting Vegetables for more information.
Then, put the roasted squash in the slow cooker with the onion, garlic, chilli, cumin powder and 3/4 of the chicken stock. Turn the slow cooker onto warm and leave everything to simmer overnight.
The next morning I awoke to amazing smells and everything in the slow cooker was cooked through and tender. All I had to do was blend it in my food processor. I added the last 1/4 of chicken stock at this point to thin it down to the right consistency.
Then I served it with a tablespoon of Greek yoghurt and garnished it with a piece of chilli and a drizzle of my homemade rocket pesto.
You could make this vegetarian or vegan even, by using vegetable stock instead of chicken stock and to make it dairy free, jut leave the toppings off – or drizzle some chilli oil on the top.It was absolutely delicious and made 4 large servings. A much nicer lunch at work on a chilly day than a salad from the shop next door. It tasted smoky and sweet and spicy all at once and was deliciously smooth and warming. I’m definitely going to be trying other soup combinations over the coming winter months! I like to serve it with some of my toasted Grain Free Bread!
What’s your favourite soups to make at home? I need some inspiration for flavours to try next!!
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