When did it get so cold?! This soup is deliciously hearty; warming and fragrant, you can beat the winter blues! Without bacon, it is vegan and vegetarian friendly.
- 1 small butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into chunks
- 1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced into 4 lengthways
- 1 large clove of garlic, or two medium cloves, left whole
- Vegetable stock cube
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp sage
- Bacon, if desired
- Heat the oven to 160 degrees.
- Scatter the butternut squash chunks onto a baking tray. Pour over a generous amount of olive oil, then sprinkle over the cayenne pepper and paprika.
- Peel the garlic, and crush under the flat side of a large knife. Nestle the squashed, whole clove in the middle of the baking tray. Season, then place the tray in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until soft and browned. Turn the squash to let the other side soften and caramelise.
- Remove the tray from the oven, and transfer the squash into a blender.
- Roast the red pepper in the same tray until soft, and add to the blender along with the cooking oil from the tray.
- Crumble the stock cube over the pepper and squash, and add enough boiling water to cover the vegetables. Blend until smooth, then transfer to a pan. Add more boiling water if the soup is too thick. Add the sage, and warm over a low heat.
- In a frying pan, crisp bacon, then slice into strips. Taste the soup, and adjust the seasoning if needed.
- Serve the soup topped with crisp bacon, alongside crusty bread.