bookcoverjamieathomeThis is from my new favorite cookbook by Jamie Oliver – Jamie at Home.  If you are an aspiring gardener and/or appreciate the Earth’s edible bounty, you will love the photography and recipe ideas in this book.  Organized by season, it will also help you make the most of seasonal meats and veggies.  I brought this soup to my sister’s holiday potluck this year and it received many compliments.  The only modification I made was a shortcut on the croutons…I just drizzled olive oil and sprinkled some parmesan and threw them into the oven until toasty.  Can’t wait to try Jamie’s recipe next time!

Ingredients – Soup
olive oil
16 fresh sage leaves
2 red onions, peeled and chopped
2 sticks of celery, trimmed and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves picked
1/2 – 1 fresh red chilli [I used green…it was all I could find], deseeded and finely chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 1/2 pounds butternut squash, onion squash, or musque de Provence, halved, deseeded and cut into chunks
2 quarts good-quality chicken or vegetable stock [confession: I used bouillion cubes…]
extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

Ingredients – Croutons
extra virgin olive oil
16 slices of ciabatta bread
block of parmesan for grating

Put a very large saucepan on a medium heat and pour in a couple of glugs of olive oil. Add sage leaves and fry 30 seconds until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve for garnish on a paper towel lined plate. Return the fragranced oil to the heat and add onion, celery, carrot, garlic, rosemary leaves, chilli, and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Cook gently for about 10 minutes until veggies are sweet and soft. Add the squash and the stock, bring to the boil, and simmer for a half hour or so.

While the soup is cooking, make your croutons. Drizzle a little olive oil over the ciabatta slices, pat it in and press some grated parmesan on each side. Place in a non-stick pan without any oil and fry until golden on both sides.

When the squash is soft and cooked through, whiz the soup with an immersion blender or pour into a blender and pulse until you have a smooth puree (or leave slightly chunky if you’d like). Most importantly, remember to taste and season until it’s perfect. Divide the soup between your bowls, placing 2 croutons on top of each. Sprinkle with a few of your crispy sage leaves and drizzle with a swirl of good-quality extra virgin olive oil.