Today we haz soup. . .

Butternut squash, sweet potato, chilli, and pak choi soup to be precise.

After a dreadful night, when I discovered that there’s something almost worse than pain – itching! – during which I totalled perhaps half an hour of fitful sleep, I have to avoid falling asleep during today in order to be able to do so tonight. So it’s time to hit the kitchen.

First up is going to be sweet potato and butternut squash soup, with shredded pak choi, partly as a colour contrast, partly for its slight pepperiness. A small chilli will be involved, too, to  give the inevitable sweetness a lift.

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You need (quantities are flexible):-

350g of pre-prepped butternut squash and sweet potato

2 or 3 Echalion shallots, depending on size (or use pre-prepped onion, though the shallots have a better flavour)

1 small, medium-hot red chilli

2 Sweet Spear carrots These appear to be unique to Sainsbury’s, and seasonal** (autumn to spring), so if you can’t get them, use any well-flavoured carrot or, again, pre-prepped. NB: By this point I was out of spoons, so omitted the carrots. The soup appears not to have suffered.

1 or 2 pak choi, depending on size

A little butter and olive oil

Vegetable or light chicken stock

Black pepper and sea salt

**Or at least they used to be – I see they’re still selling them this year.

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You could start by roasting the squash and sweet potato, the carrot too for that matter, but I find it easier and quicker to brown them in the oil and butter, then remove them and sweat off the shallots – add a little more oil if necessary.

De-seed and very finely chop the chilli, and add to the softening shallots.

Return the veg to the pan, and add stock to the desired amount, bring to the boil, then simmer until all is tender. Leave to cool then blitz smooth in a blender.

While it’s cooling finely shred the pak choi (be aware that the bulbous base can contain soil and/or small insects, so it’s best to separate into individual leaves, and either rinse them or wipe clean). Add to the soup once it’s smooth, then reheat and simmer gently until the pak choi is cooked, stirring frequently so it doesn’t stick.

Set aside and leave to cool.

When cold, put it in the fridge overnight – give the flavours a chance to snuggle up. Reheat next day, adjust the seasoning, and serve.

The soup is unmade as yet – I’ve just had my morning session with the district nurse (see previous post), and it was futile starting anything before that. However, as always, I have every confidence in me (he said, modestly), and that  it will turn out just fine.

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