I might be reaching for the central heating control tonight. Despite a summer to forget, the temperatures have remained fairly moderate. But this morning, that unmistakeable 'nip' of autumn was in the air. Time for the big coats and a bit of natural central heating from our lovely Autumnal foods methinks.
Soup is the easiest and most natural food stuff to turn to when you need a bit of inner core thermal warming. I can't help but experiment when it is soup time, and with a few sad squashes in my garden somehow surviving the summer floods, the soup pot was the only humane way of putting their short lives to an honourable end.
A squash sliced into chunks and skin left on - seeds removed for roasting for a delicious snack EVERY time - before roasting to golden perfection, makes for an intensely sweet base for your soup. Leaves of iron-enriched green chard and a few slices of leftover roast ham make things even better. And before you know it, you have a 45 minute soup from start to finish that will warm you up and pack you full of cold-beating goodness. Souper.
Roast Squash, Chard and Ham Soup
1 medium sized squash, sliced into chunks and seeds removed
1 onion, skin removed and cut into quarters
1 bulb of garlic, cloves separated
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
4 handfuls of chard, washed and chopped roughly
A few handfuls of leftover ham
500ml hot vegetable stock or water
1 - Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees, GM6.
2 - Put the squash, garlic and onion onto a baking tray, season generously and toss with the olive oil. Roast for 30 minutes until golden and caramelised.
3 - Toss the chard in a hot pan for 5 minutes until wilted.
4 - Put the roast squash and onion into a blender. Squeeze in the sweetened roasted garlic cloves from their skins.
5 - Put in the chard, ham and stock then blitz until smooth.
6 - Pour into a pan and reheat. Taste for seasoning.