Pumpkin and apple soup with chestnuts recipe

Some pumpkin or squash flesh, an onion or two and plenty of cumin: this is the basic recipe for a fabulous soup. I love the addition of apples – their sharpness cuts through the sweetness of the squash – and you can’t go wrong in autumn with a topping of chestnuts. For a party, serve this in an emptied out squash, keeping the flesh (and seeds) for another dish.

For 8 as a starter, 6 for lunch

  • 2-3 lb squash
  • Olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon freshly chopped rosemary
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 12oz Bramley cooking apples, peeled and chopped
  • 750ml good fresh vegetable or chicken stock
  • 250ml unsweetened apple juice
To serve
  • Handful of cooked chestnuts (vacuum-packed are fine), chopped and warmed Crème fraîche (optional)

Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3. Roast the squash whole for 10 minutes. Cool it a little and then peel, deseed and cut into chunks (this par-roast makes it easier to peel)

Place the pumpkin or squash pieces in a plastic bag, add a little olive oil plus the rosemary, salt and pepper and toss together. Empty into a roasting tin and cook in the oven for 30 minutes more, or until soft and beginning to char around the edges.

Gently sauté the onion and garlic with the cumin and ginger in a large, heavy-based pan until soft but not coloured. Add the roasted pumpkin or squash and the apples, mix well, then stir in the stock and apple juice.

Reduce the heat, cover and simmer gently for about 15 minutes, until the apples are soft. Check the seasoning and add more stock or apple juice to taste. Purée the mixture in a food processor or liquidiser.

Reheat the soup, and add some chopped chestnuts and a dollop of crème fraîche (if using) to each serving.

This recipe appears on p248 of Sarah Raven's Food for Friends and Family Cookbook.