If you are watching the calories you can make low fat and low calorie versions of most soups, but here I'm going for the full fat version, so to speak. If you want to impress you can't fail with a swirl of cream, or homemade croutons as a final flourish. If you want to go the whole hog, make your own bread to have on the side, as I did this week (it didn't last 5 minutes).
I start nearly all my soups with the same base, a knob of butter, an onion, some chopped celery, and sometimes grated garlic. For this recipe I'm using Fenland celery, a type of celery with PGI status. I was sent some to try recently this celery is grown in Cambridgeshire, the root is left on and cut at a point very different to celery I have bought before. Its very crisp and has a clean and fresh aroma when you are cutting it, you can sense the difference to other celery's just when you prepare it. When its cooked it makes a mellow addition to the dishes (I used it in a chilli con carne as well as this and other soups, it passed the road and taste tests really well).
2 sticks of Fenland Celery chopped
1 small onion - chopped
1 clove garlic - grated
1 Butternut Squash
150g red lentils
knob of butter
fresh chicken stock or a chicken stock alternative OR
Dried Chilli flakes (I used Steenbergs)
Sea salt and black pepper
Place on a baking tray and drizzle with oilive oil, season with sea salt, fresh ground pepper, sprinkle with dried chilli flakes and grated garlic.
Roast in the oven for up to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the squash.
2. Prepare the onion and celery and get your stock ready.
3. Once the squash is done remove from the oven and scrape out all the flesh with a spoon, leave this to one side.
4. Melt the knob of butter in a pan and add the chopped celery, and chopped onion, fry gently until the celery and onion is soft but not brown. Add the flesh from the scooped out squash and the lentils and mix everything together. Add enough stock to cover everything well, bring to the boil and simmer for about 10 minutes.
5. To finish use a hand blender to blitz the soup and then taste for seasoning.
6. Serve with a drizzle of fresh single cream.
To make this soup really creamy add more single cream before serving and mix well.
The idea for this recipe came mostly from Naimh Shields book, Comfort and Spice I just altered it a little.
Fenland celery is only in season until December...good news for Christmas lunch if you want to make this soup as a starter. If you fancy more celery recipe ideas click http://www.lovecelery.co.uk/