This soup was inspired by one that I had a new local restaurant Florio on my last visit there, a simple butternut squash soup topped with greek yogurt and almonds. A pretty straightforward soup, but much more enjoyable than expected because of the deep lemon flavour and the clever garnishes. This is not a fancy soup by any means but the combined tang of citrus juice and the sweeter zest really lift the soup and the yogurt and almonds mean that each mouthful is slightly different, right the way to the bottom of the bowl. Happily for once my experiments at home turned out pleasingly similar first time.
Early in the Autumn a soup can be a simple thing like this. I’m sure that come February our collective taste in soup will become more demanding and we’ll be looking for full nutrition-in-a-bowl, rejuvenating solutions complete with protein and whole grains and fresh asian flavours. But for now this little squash and citrus number will do just fine.
p.s if you’re after a spicier,more robust squash soup this one arrived in my inbox while I was writing up my recipe
Recipe for Butternut squash and lemon soup
The quantities in this recipe make a small batch of soup from a small squash. If you have a bigger squash you can scale up with more stock and more lemon.
1 small butternut squash (about 600g)
1 tbsp olive oil plus extra for cooking the squash
1 medium onion, finely diced
a splash of white vermouth or white wine
325ml vegetable stock
325ml hot water
1 lemon (juice and zest)
Toasted, flaked almonds and thick greek style yogurt to garnish.
Preheat the oven to 220 C (425 F)
Halve the butternut squash and rub the cut surfaces with olive oil. Roast the squash in a baking tray cut side down with a splash of hot water. Cook for around 40 minutes or until completely soft.
Saute the onions in a large pan with the tablespoon of olive oil. Cook on a low heat for around 10 minutes or until soft.
Turn up the up the heat under the onions and add a good splash of vermouth or white wine. Allow most of the liquid to bubble away and then turn the heat down again.
Add the flesh from the squash to the pan and stir into the onions.
Add the zest of the lemon to the pan and the stock and water.
Simmer for 10 minutes.
Blitz with a stick blender or food processor.
Add half of the lemon juice to the pan just before serving the soup (keep the remainder to refresh any leftover soup before serving)
Dish the soup out and top with toasted almonds and a dollop of yogurt.