Thursday 29 October 2015

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup + Smoky Cheddar Za'atar Naan Dippers.

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

For all you ill people out there.

And, I am definitely part of your club.
Since Monday, the sore throat and cold have taken hold and nothing has gone down better than a steaming hot bowl of soup.
My current soup of choice is this roasted butternut squash one livened up with cumin and thyme. Me and the butternut have always had a love/hate relationship - I love the taste of it but hate the laborious task of peeling and slicing it. So what did I do this time? The laziest thing ever - I stabbed it a few times and threw it whole and unpeeled into a hot oven. 45 minutes and voila! A soft squash, ready to slice, scoop and turn into soup.
I think you'll agree with me - the best thing about a soup (apart from it's sore throat healing properties) is what you dunk into it. Now, a good piece of crusty bread is fine and all but I kind of decided to turn a piece of nearly-stale-but-not-quite-there-yet naan into the flatbread version of the grilled cheese. 

And, not just any cheese. I used a smoky Cheddar which we had in the fridge. Finished with a good sprinkle of za'atar, it was toasted to perfection and ready to dunk. A soup that's the same colour as the leaves outside? I think you'll like this one.

Butternut Squash, previously: butternut squash and chickpea curry // roasted vegetable soup // spicy harissa drumstick bake.

Soup, previously: 9 soup recipes here!

A Simple List of Ingredients:

For the Roasted Butternut Squash Soup:
1. Butternut Squash
2. Coconut Oil
3. Onion
4. Garlic
5. Dried Thyme
6. Dried Sage
7. Ground Cumin
8. Crushed Red Chilli Flakes
9. Salt and Pepper
10. Vegetable Stock Cube
11. Water
12. Coconut Milk
13. Fresh Chives

For the Smoky Cheddar Za'atar Naan Dippers:
1. Naan
2. Smoky Cheddar Cheese
3. Cheddar Cheese
4. Za'atar
5. Butter

Bismillah, let's begin! 

First job, roast the squash. This is the easiest method ever - no peeling or chopping here! All you do is take 1 medium Butternut Squash.

Very carefully, pierce the skin all over using a knife. This is so it doesn't decide to explode in the oven.
Do not skip this step - the other day, a potato exploded in our oven because someone forgot to pierce it beforehand. And before you ask, no, it was not me!

Once the squash is well and truly poked all over ...

... place it on to a foil-lined tray (it may leak a little when roasting) and roast at 200C for 45 minutes or until tender.

Like so!

Do you see the seeping? That's where the foil-lined tray comes in handy. Easy clean-up.

All that's left to do now is slice the squash in half.

And, scoop out the soft flesh. The squash doesn't have to be super-soft. We are going to cooking it in the soup too.

When you get to seeds, just scoop them out with a spoon and pop them in the bin. 

Keep going until you have a bowl full of cooked squash.

Set it aside whilst you get the soup base on.

First up, a little oil. I used coconut.

Take 1 tablespoon Coconut Oil and place it into the pan over a medium heat.
If using vegetable/olive oil, add 2 tablespoons.

Let the oil melt whilst you slice up an onion and some garlic.

I used 1 Onion and 2 large Garlic Cloves.

They were both peeled.

The onion was diced.

And, the garlic was sliced thinly, lengthways.

By now, the oil has melted.

In go the onion and garlic.

Let them soften gently in the oil for about 10 minutes until ...

... golden.

Next, the seasonings: 
1 and 1/2 teaspoons Salt (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper

1/4 teaspoon Crushed Red Chilli Flakes
1/4 teaspoon Ground Cumin

1/2 teaspoon Dried Thyme
1/2 teaspoon Dried Sage

Measure out all the spices.

And, add them to the pan.

Over the medium heat, stir the spices in and cook for a minute or two.

Then, put in the squash.

Stir it in and get it coated in all the spices.

Next, vegetable stock. I chose to use a stock cube and water.

Pop in 1 Vegetable Stock Cube.

And, pour in 1 litre Water.

Stir well.

And, bring to the boil.

Once boiling, turn the heat right down and cover with a lid. Simmer like this for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, uncover.

Ladle the soup into a blender. You may want to do this in batches if your blender isn't that strong.

Also, be sure to take out the small cap in your blender's lid when blending. This'll help the steam to escape. Blend the soup to smooth.

I poured the blended soup back into the pot it was cooked in. You may want to pop it back on the heat to bubble again.

Finally, into the soup, goes a little coconut milk. This'll just give everything a little sweetness.

In goes a splash of Coconut Milk. Add as much or as little as you want.

Give it a stir and we're done! Oooh, one last thing - be sure to taste and adjust the seasoning, if needed.

To eat with the soup, I, on a whim, made a few smoky cheddar za'atar naan dippers.

I used 1 large Naan, sliced through the middle, because we had one lying around after a lamb feast at the weekend. Feel free to use pitta if you want, or even bread.

Next, smoky Cheddar. Guys, this stuff is so good. Unmelted, I find it quite harsh but when it's melted through, it's amazing and adds a subtle smokiness that works well with the butternut squash.

Onto one side of the naan, place 2 slices Smoky Cheddar.

Along with a few small slices of Cheddar.

Next, a spice which I just discovered that we had a huge jar of in the cupboard - Za'atar! It's a blend of dried herbs and spices commonly used in the Middle East. I love it!

Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon Za'atar over the cheese. Leave the Za'atar out if you want or replace it with your favourite herb/spice. Oooh, how about you put in chopped fresh coriander and thinly sliced green chillies? That's what I used in these cheese toasts.

Next, all you do is place one half over the other.

Spread a little softened Butter over both the outside sides of the naan.

Heat a frying pan over a medium heat and when it's hot, gently put in the naan.

Cook on both sides until golden and the cheese has melted.

Slice up the naan.

And, ladle the hot soup into a bowl. I drizzled on a little more Coconut Milk.

Finished with a sprinkle of Fresh Chives, snipped.

To serve, grab your hot bowl of soup and naan dippers ...
... and get dunking!

Full Written Recipe:

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup + Smoky Cheddar Za’atar Naan Dippers.

Prep Time: About 10 minutes.
Cook Time: About 1 hour 20 minutes. (less, if you roast the squash in advance)
Serves: About 4 people.


For the Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
1 medium Butternut Squash
1 tablespoon Coconut Oil
1 Onion, peeled and diced
2 large Garlic Cloves, peeled and thinly sliced lengthways
1 and ½ teaspoons Salt (or to taste)
½ teaspoon Black Pepper
¼ teaspoon Crushed Red Chilli Flakes
¼ teaspoon Ground Cumin
½ teaspoon Dried Thyme
½ teaspoon Dried Sage
1 Vegetable Stock Cube
1 litre Water
Splash of Coconut Milk plus extra to drizzle on top
Fresh Chives, snipped

For the Smoky Cheddar Za’atar Naan Dippers
1 large Naan, sliced in half
2 slices Smoky Cheddar
Few small slices Cheddar
½ teaspoon Za’atar
Softened Butter, to spread


To roast the butternut squash, pre-heat the oven to 200C. Line a baking tray with foil.
Pierce the squash all over with a sharp knife. Place it onto the tray and roast for 45 minutes until tender. You’ll know this when a knife can be inserted easily.
Allow to cool slightly then slice in half. Spoon out the flesh and discard the seeds.

To make the soup, heat the coconut oil in a deep pan over a medium heat. Add the onions and garlic. Let them soften gently for 10 minutes.
Add the salt, black pepper, red chilli, ground cumin, dried sage and dried thyme. Stir and cook for a minute.
Put in the squash and stir to coat in all the spices. Add in the stock cube and water. Stir well and bring to the boil.
Once boiling, turn the heat right down and cover with a lid. Simmer, like this, for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, ladle the soup into a blender. Do this in batches, if you want. Be sure to remove the small lid in your blender lid to let the steam escape when blending. Blend to smooth.
Pour the soup back into the pan and stir in the coconut milk. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if needed.

To make the smoky Cheddar za’atar naan dippers, onto one side of the naan, place the smoky Cheddar, Cheddar and za’atar.
Put the other piece on top and spread both of the outer sides with the softened butter.
Toast in a dry frying pan over a medium heat until golden and the cheese has melted. Slice into wedges.

To serve, ladle the hot soup into bowls. Drizzle over a little coconut milk and sprinkle on the snipped chives. Dunk the naan dippers in and enjoy!

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Keep me in your duas please, and enjoy you soup,


Spice Enthusiast
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