Autumnal squash soup with toasted cumin seeds
This warming soup is a favourite consolation in Ard Bia when summer has finally slipped away and autumn is settling in – just the thing to cheer you up on a rainy day in the west!
3–4 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, diced
5 garlic cloves, bashed with the back of a knife and peeled
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 carrot, peeled and roughly diced
2 sticks of celery, roughly chopped
1.2kg squash of choice, peeled and de-seeded (butternut squash or pumpkin are the most common)
1 litre vegetable stock
1 pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
3–4 handfuls of fresh coriander, picked
Heat a large heavy-based pot over a medium heat and, in the following order, add the olive oil, diced onion, bashed garlic, cumin seed, ginger, salt and pepper, carrot and celery along with the cayenne pepper, if using. Sweat over a low to medium heat until the onion and vegetables soften a little and the cumin seeds are toasted.
When you think you’ve enough flavour in your pot – the change in colour is a clue but you’ll know by the delicious aromas – add your chosen member of the squash family.
Then barely cover with stock, cover with a lid and allow to simmer until the squash is cooked– about 20–25 minutes, but it will depend on what type of squash you used, so check by piercing with a knife. Allow to cool a little before blending. Add a little water if the soup needs thinning out.
Check the seasoning for taste and serve garnished with fresh coriander.