If you enjoy a little extra slug of something warming in your cup at elevenses, this soup should hit the spot. If you’re opting for a leisurely lunch instead, it works well as a starter, garnished with a spoonful of crème fraîche and some rosemary.
■ Large bunch rosemary
■ Olive oil
■ 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
■ 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
■ 1 bird’s eye chilli, chopped
■ 1 butternut squash, peeled and chopped
■ 1 litre (13⁄4 pints) chicken stock
■ 2 tbsp crème fraîche
■ Salt and pepper
For the vodka (optional):
■ 1 bird’s eye chilli
■ A few sprigs rosemary
■ 1 bottle vodka
This soup works well with ordinary vodka, however the rosemary and chilli kind adds flavour and is easy to make. Chop the chilli in half, drop it and the rosemary into the bottle and leave to infuse for a few days. Any left adds a nice twist to a Bloody Mary.
To make the soup, finely chop half the bunch of rosemary. Cook this off over quite a high heat in a large pan until it’s beginning to get crispy. Turn down the heat, add the onion, garlic and chopped chilli, and sweat until soft.
Deglaze the pan with about two tablespoons of rosemary and chilli vodka, if using, then add the butternut squash and the rest of the rosemary (in whole sprigs), and top up the pan with chicken stock until it covers the squash. Simmer until falling apart – around an hour.
Liquidise, in batches if necessary, then pass through a fine sieve. Adjust the texture and flavour with the crème fraîche, which will take the edge off the chilli kick. Season.
On the shoot, serve with a bottle of rosemary and chilli vodka, which people can add to taste.
More delicious soup recipes in The Field