Organic September - Roasted Squash Soup
Roasted squash soup with ancho chilli oil and toasted pumpkin seeds by Kate Moberly, Konoba
This month it’s the Soil Association Organic September, where they raise awareness of the incredible benefits organic farming can bring for our climate, nature and our health. I try to buy organically where I can, for both home and for my catering business. It means things are more expensive and that it takes longer to do my supply shopping, but to me it’s worth it.
Here are some of the key reasons why I believe using organic ingredients is important:
- Healthier soil - as anyone who has watched the Netflix documentary Kiss the Ground will know, soil is one of our most important tools in fighting climate change. Organic farming helps to create healthier soils through using crop rotations, nitrogen-fixing crops and compost. This results in them being around 25% more effective at storing carbon.
- Fewer pesticides - the use of pesticides in organic food production is strictly monitored. Pesticides that are used are primarily derived from natural substances and must be approved for organic production.
- Nutritionally different - organic dairy has up to 50% more beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. Organically produced crops were found to have up to 68% more antioxidants whilst containing lower concentrations of pesticides.
Autumn is by far my favourite season when it comes to produce, and there isn’t anything I get more excited by than seeing squash back in the shops. There are so many beautiful varieties out there, my favourite is the crown prince squash, which has a lovely blue skin and has a very dense and sweet flesh, perfect for soup!
1 kg squash
3 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
900ml vegetable or chicken stock
1 ancho chilli
1 clove garlic
1 tsp ground coriander
200ml vegetable oil
50g pumpkin seeds
Firstly, make the chilli oil. Heat all the ingredients in a small saucepan until fragrant and just starting to bubble. Remove from the heat and let it steep for 1 hour while you make the soup.
Heat oven to 180C.
Cut squash into large chunks, leaving the skin on if it’s not too tough. Toss with 1 tbsp olive oil in a large baking tray, season and roast for 30 minutes.
Heat the remaining 2 tbsps of olive oil in a large saucepan and gently fry the onion until soft, this should take about 15 minutes. Then add the garlic, oregano and spices until fragrant. Turn off the heat until the squash is ready.
Place the pumpkin seeds in a large, dry frying pan and heat until they are popping and nicely toasted, tossing regularly.
Blitz the chilli oil with a stick blender until smooth and then strain through a sieve.
Once cooked, add the squash to the onions along with the stock and some seasoning. Blitzed with the same stick blender until smooth. Gently reheat the soup until simmering and serve with a drizzle of chilli oil and a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds. If I have it in the fridge I also like to crumble on some feta.