Autumn for me is all about warming, hearty dishes that fill your tummy with love. Stews, curries, casseroles, pasta and soup! I often forget to make soup (I don’t know why when it’s all over my feed!) but when I do they need to have a lot of flavour and texture. Butternut squash is great in so many dishes and of course I’m eating it all the time now it’s in season!
I used pearl barley in this recipe because I love it’s chewy texture and it bulks the soup out without being too heavy. This soup can be completely blitzed for those of you who like smooth soup, or kept chunky. Mixed with butternut, coconut milk and spices this soup is perfect for cold autumn evenings (or warm ones, depending where you are) with a handful of homemade croutons!
The only time consuming part of the recipe is preparing the butternut squash and I think this puts a lot of people off eating it. The best way I have found to do it is cut off both ends, cut in half lengthways and then peel. I only use one peeler and its one of those ones you slide onto your finger and it makes peeling vegetables SO much quicker. Here’s a link so you know what I’m ranting on about. Once peeled, use a teaspoon or ice cream scoop to scrape out the flesh and seeds. The seeds can be soaked in water and then roasted in the oven in some oil and herbs/spices. Perfect for decorating the soup or having as a snack.
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 red onions
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 butternut squash
- ¾ cup pearl barley, rinsed
- 1 tbsp hot chilli powder
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 2 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 litre vegetable stock
- 1 tin coconut milk
- Slices of slightly stale bread
- 1 tbsp garlic granules
- 1 tbsp dried herbs
- Prepare your squash. Cut off both ends, slice in half lengthways and then peel. Scoop out the stringy flesh and seeds with a spoon and then cut into cubes about 2cm wide.
- Melt the coconut oil in a big saucepan on medium heat. Roughly chop the onion and garlic and fry for a few minutes.
- Add the remaining ingredients and 1 litre of the stock. Leave to simmer for 30 minutes.
- Check the squash is soft and the barley is cooked (it should be slightly chewy and soft).
- If you want a smooth soup, blend completely and add some extra water if needed. If you like it lumpy, partly blitz or just mash the butternut with the back of a fork. You may need extra water depending on your preference, and the weight of your butternut.
- Season with salt and pepper and leave on a low heat whilst you make the croutons.
- Heat a tbsp of vegetable oil (I use rapeseed) along with the garlic and dried herbs. Cut the bread into cubes (about 1 slice per person) and fry until brown and crispy.
- Serve soup with a handful of croutons. I also swirled in a teaspoon of pesto, and sprinkled some coconut flakes on top.