Clodagh McKenna: A sweet and spicy soup to guard you from the chill

This soup is a ray of sunshine in a bowl during the grey days of autumn. The butternut squash is so sweet and creamy, and I love spicing and warming it up with cumin and garam masala.

It does make a huge difference if you make your own vegetable stock, which is so easy to do – just add a few carrots, onions, leeks, celery and herbs to a large pot of water, bring to the boil and leave to simmer for a couple of hours. Drain, discard the cooked vegetables and there you have a delicious homemade stock. It freezes so well. I fill an ice cube tray with the stock and when I’m making a gravy from the juices in the pan after a roast, I just pop a couple of the frozen stock cubes into the pan.

You can swap the butternut squash with pumpkin, but the squash has lots more flavour. I garnish the soup with pumpkin seeds and coconut flakes to add a nice crunchy texture and another layer of flavour. Double or treble the recipe – it will stay good in the fridge for one week or in the freezer for a couple of months. Pair it with a delicious crisp and elegant Bourgogne Chardonnay.

Squash and coconut soup

Serves: 6

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 25 minutes

Serve with: Bourgogne Chardonnay “Les Chenaudières” 2016 Cave de Lugny


2 tbsp olive oil

1kg butternut squash, skinned, deseeded and cut into 2.5cm pieces

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 onions, chopped

2 tsps ground cumin

1 tbsp garam masala

600ml hot vegetable stock

300ml coconut milk

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pumpkin seeds and coconut flakes


1. Place a casserole dish or heavy bottomed saucepan over a medium heat and pour in the two tablespoons of olive oil. Then stir in the butternut squash, onions and garlic and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover and allow to cook for 10 minutes.

2. Remove the lid from the casserole dish and stir in the garam masala and ground cumin. Stir and allow to cook for three minutes, stirring every minute. This will intensify the spice flavours in the butternut squash. Then pour in the hot vegetable stock and cook for 15 minutes, followed by the coconut for a further five minutes.

3. When the squash is tender, the soup is ready to be blended using a food-processor or hand blender. Blend until the soup is a smooth consistency.

4. Serve hot and garnish with pumpkin seeds and coconut flakes.

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