Smoky squash and lemon soup

This delicious soup, which uses preserved lemons, was inspired by a dish I had in Morocco a few years ago.

For 4 as a main course, 6-8 as a starter

  • About 1.3 kg butternut squash
  • 3 tablespoons cold-pressed rapeseed oil or 1 tablespoon set coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 100g shallots, finely chopped
  • 1-2 preserved lemons, flesh discarded, skin finely chopped, plus a little of the juice
  • 600ml vegetable stock
  • Handful of flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon spiced nuts and seeds

Leaving peel on, cut the squash in half, remove the seeds, and then cut the flesh into 3cm chunks. Place the squash chunks in a roasting tray with most of the oil, the smoked paprika, whole garlic cloves and some seasoning. Roast for 45-50 minutes, until the squash pieces are soft and the edges caramelised.

In a large saucepan, fry the shallots in the remaining oil until translucent. Add the roasted squash to the shallot, and squeeze in the garlic cloves out of their skins. Stir and then add the chopped skin of 1 preserved lemon. Pour in the stock and simmer for 30 minutes.

Blend until smooth in a food processor and taste to check the ‘lemoniness’. Add another ½–1 preserved lemon if necessary or a little bit of the juice. Blitz again. Season. Serve with a bowl of chopped flat-leaf parsley and a few spiced nuts and seeds to sprinkle on the top.

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