Butternut soup with crispy sage & apple croutons
- Preparation and cooking time
- Serves 4
The apple and sage contrast beautifully with naturally sweet butternut squash in this low-fat, gluten-free festive dinner party starter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion , chopped
- 1 garlic clove , chopped
- 1 butternut squash , about 1kg, peeled, deseeded and chopped
- 3 tbsp madeira or dry Sherry
- 500ml gluten-free vegetable stock , plus a little extra if necessary
- 1 tsp chopped sage , plus 20 small leaves, cleaned and dried
- sunflower oil , for frying
For the apple croutons
- STEP 1
Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion and fry for 5 mins. Add the garlic and squash, and cook for 5 mins more. Pour in the Madeira and stock, stir in the chopped sage, then cover and simmer for 20 mins until the squash is tender.
- STEP 2
Blitz with a hand blender or in a food processor until completely smooth. Allow to cool in the pan, then chill until ready to serve. Will keep for 2 days or freeze for 3 months. To make the crispy sage, heat some oil (a depth of about 2cm) in a small pan, then drop in the sage leaves until they are crisp – you will need to do this in batches. Drain on kitchen paper. Will keep for several hours.
- STEP 3
Just before serving, reheat the soup in a pan. The texture should be quite thick and velvety, but thin it with a little stock if it is too thick.
- STEP 4
For the apple croutons, heat the oil in a large pan, add the apple and fry until starting to soften. Sprinkle with the sugar and stir until lightly caramelised.
- STEP 5
To serve, ladle the soup into small bowls and top with the apple, sage and a grinding of black pepper.
Can be made 2 days ahead and chilled, or 3 months ahead and frozen.