Jill's recipe for Thai Butternut Squash Soup
1 butternut squash weighing about 1 kg unpeeled
1 tin coconut milk
Fresh ginger – about one inch
1 red chilli (omit if you don’t like it too hot)
A teaspoon Thai red curry paste (be cautious, you can always add a little more later)
About 1 pint vegetable stock (from powder or cube is fine) or chicken stock (if you’re not vegetarian!)
Salt & Pepper
Olive or vegetable oil
How to make
1. Peel and deseed squash and cut into smallish chunks (it cooks quicker)
2. Peel and chop ginger finely.
3. If using, cut stalk off chill and chop finely (if you want to limit heat remove seeds)
4. Put tablespoon of oil in pan and on medium heat add ginger, chilli and paste. Stir for a few minutes then add coconut milk and stock.
5. Add squash, bring to boil and then reduce heat and simmer until squash is soft – or begins to break up.
6. Remove from heat and either liquidise with ‘wand’ or allow to cool and then liquidise in a goblet.
7. Reheat when needed and check seasoning before serving.
8. Chop coriander and sprinkle on top of each portion.
Health benefits of butternut squash
Squashes (and indeed pumpkins) are amongst the most nutritious autumn foods. Low in fat they provide an ample dose of dietary fibre, making it an exceptionally heart-friendly choice. It provides significant amounts of potassium, important for bone health, and vitamin B6, essential for the proper functioning of both the nervous and immune systems.
Squash's orange/yellow hues reflect an abundance of powerhouse nutrients known as carotenoids, compounds which get turned into vitamin A in the body. They also contain lutein, a carotenoid that is shown to protect against heart disease. What's more, with only a 1-cup serving, you get nearly half the recommended daily dose of antioxidant-rich vitamin C.
As if this weren't enough, butternut squash may have anti-inflammatory effects because of its high antioxidant content and a low glycaemic index score, which means they are absorbed slowly and help to keep blood sugar levels steady.
How to buy
Choose an unblemished fruit that feels heavy for its size with a matte, rather than glossy, skin. A shiny exterior indicates that the fruit was picked too early, and it won't be as sweet as a fully grown squash. Store whole butternut squash in a cool, dry place (not the fridge) with plenty of ventilation; it should keep for up to three months. Cut squash will stay fresh for up to a week, wrapped, in the fridge.