This soup is somehow light and yet filling and comforting at the same time. For this version, I’ve added a twist with orange juice and ginger, which gives it a delicious edge. It’s very easy to make although you do need a blender if you want to end up with a smooth soup. The beautiful orange colour also lends itself well to dressing up with different garnishes – I particularly like the orange, white and green combo of soup, yoghurt and chives.
I used a red and a brown onion, but you could use two red or two brown if that’s what you have. The red one just adds a bit more sweetness, which goes well with the butternut. For the orange juice, use a good quality one that is all juice like Liqui-Fruit or Ceres, rather than orange nectar, which actually contains very little real juice. I also happened to have some left-over white wine in the fridge which had been there for a while, so I added that too as an experiment. It gave an extra tangy finish, which I really liked, but you could equally well leave it out. For the stock, you can use any decent quality veggie stock, or even chicken stock if you prefer. I added Ina Paarman’s veggie stock powder to the pot, and then topped up with boiling water to just cover everything. Some stocks are quite salty, so I usually wait till I’m at blending stage before adding any extra salt.
Cheese and butternut combine really well and I like to serve the soup with some good wholewheat bread, toasted, buttered and then grilled with some cheese on top. I’ve also seen variations where French loaf slices are toasted and cheese melted over, and then the soup poured over that, or the toasted cheese is rested on top of the soup. Personally I prefer my toast crunchy and served on the side, but if you are the kind of person who likes to dip biscuits in your tea, you might like to try one of the other variations.
- 1 large butternut, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 red onion + 1 brown onion (or 2 red or 2 brown)
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- 2T olive oil
- 1c good quality orange juice i.e. not orange nectar
- 5cm piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
- ½t grated nutmeg
- 2 bay leaves
- 1c white wine (optional)
- Hot veggie stock to cover
- Salt (only if needed)
Optional extras to serve
- Chives, snipped
- Toasted cheese
Heat the olive oil in a big pot on medium heat and add the onion, ginger and garlic.
Cook, stirring often, until the onion starts to look translucent. Then add the butternut chunks and stir.
Now add all the other soup ingredients including enough stock to just cover it all.
Turn up the heat to bring it to the boil, then adjust so it just simmers. It’s done when the butternut is soft, which usually takes around 30 – 45 minutes. You’ll see the stock has become more cloudy as the butternut has started to dissolve into it.
Let it cool slightly before blending to reach the level of smoothness you like. Taste and add salt if required.
Serve garnished with yoghurt and chives, with toasted cheese on the side.
© Alexandra Lawrence and Inspired Nourishment, 2014