This recipe makes a lovely, warm autumn soup. Queen squash, with their pale greenish skins and delightful amber flesh are also among the tastiest squash to cook with. Roasting them first also saves the hassle of having to tackle the resistant peel.
Incidentally, when I made this the first time I was a little heavy-handed with the spice. If you find this happens to you, don’t panic. Just grate a medium raw potato into the soup and simmer until cooked. This will tone down the spice significantly. If this fails there is always double cream. If this fails ‘garnish’ with a generous swirl of Greek yoghurt. If this fails berate your friends for their insipid pallets and think nothing more of it.
Queen Squash soup with Rose Harissa
Serves 4 (with seconds)
1 large Queen squash (or pumpkin) chopped into large wedges, seeds removed
2 white onions, finely chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
1 inch of garlic, grated
1-2 teaspoons of rose harissa powder if you can find it. Otherwise paste to taste
Around 1 litre of vegetable stock
Finely chopped mint and coriander (around a tablespoon of each)
Set the oven to around 180C and place the squash wedges (rubbed with some olive oil) on a baking tray. Roast for around half an hour until soft with a slight blackening but not too dry. See the photo for how mine looked.
When cool enough to handle, peel and chop into 1 inch pieces. Set aside. This can be done in advance.
Put a little olive oil in a pan, add the chopped onion and cook slowly covered for around 5 minutes until starting to soften. Add the harissa paste, garlic and ginger and cook on a low heat for a further few minutes until onion is very soft.
Add the squash and cook for a further few minutes and then por in around 500-750ml water. Bring to the boil and then simmer for five minutes.
Remove from the heat and blend. At this stage it should form a thick puree. Taste and season then loosen with more water to the desired consistency. As you can see from the picture, I like it quite thick.
Return to the heat and simmer for a couple more minutes.
When ready to serve sprinkle over with a mixture of mint and coriander. I used some I had frozen earlier, and this worked fine.