This is one of my favourite ever soups, and sadly not available on the River Cottage website anymore. It is from his book River Cottage Everyday, which is one of my favourite cook books and well worth buying.
Luckily instead of having to dig out my cook book and type it up, thanks to the internet I found it on this blog:
To make it easier to whisk the peanut butter into the soup, warm it slightly first to soften it. You can do this by standing the jar in a bowl of hot water or leaving it in a warm place for 10 minutes or so. You can use other squash varieties too, or indeed a 50:50 mixture of sweet and regular potatoes, but then you wouldn’t have the joke.
- 1 butternut squash, about 800g–1kg
- A large knob of unsalted butter
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 small medium-hot chilli, deseeded and chopped, or a pinch of dried chilli flakes
- A 3cm piece of fresh ginger, grated
- 1 small garlic clove, chopped
- About 1 litre chicken or vegetable stock (pages 192 and 266 respectively)
- 227g jar of crunchy peanut butter (or use home-made, see page 52)
- Juice of 1 lime
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped coriander
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Plain yoghurt
- Coriander leaves
- 2 tablespoons toasted pumpkin seeds or chopped toasted peanuts (optional)
- A little finely chopped chilli (optional)
Halve and peel the squash, then scoop out the seeds and cut the flesh into 1cm cubes. Melt the butter in a large saucepan, add the onion and sweat until soft and translucent. Add the chilli, ginger and garlic and cook for another couple of minutes. Add the squash, a sprinkling of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Stir well and cook for 5 minutes.
Pour in the stock. Bring to the boil and simmer gently, partially covered, for about 20 minutes, until the squash is soft – you should be able to mash it easily against the side of the pan with the back of a wooden spoon. Whiz in a blender (or use a stick blender to purée it in the pan) until very smooth; you may need to do this in batches. In a bowl, whisk the peanut butter with a ladleful of the hot soup until well blended. Return this mixture to the soup in the pan, stir well and heat through. Remove from the heat, add the lime juice and coriander, then taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
Serve each portion topped with a dollop of yoghurt and a few coriander leaves. Sprinkle toasted pumpkin seeds or peanuts and/or a little finely chopped chilli on top, if you like.
I have made it a few times, always to great acclaim from my guinea pigs. (Not literal guinea pigs, they can’t talk, but the chaps I tried the recipe out on.)
And look here is a very old picture of me with Hugh!