Creamy butternut squash porridge soup

 

Butternut squash or pumpkin, carrots, onions, celery, fennel and a hint of spices, simmered in a creamy broth of milk, oats and flax seeds.

Gluten-free. Vegetarian. Packed with fiber and vitamins, from the fresh veggies, grains and seeds. Low in fat and high in nutrition. Which makes it good for you, period.

Another one of my inventions in the kitchen. The trick lies in how to conceal and disguise nutritious components like steel cut oats and flax seeds in a meal. And in turn convert it into a healthy and delicious course, in this case, soup. Sometimes, healthy can be boring, especially in my household. Got to step it up a notch and try and make a healthy meal exciting, without compromising on delicious flavour.

It’s soup night this Friday night. Let’s wrap up the week with this flavourful concoction, which I term as a soup porridge. It’s got traditional ingredients like carrots, onions, celery which go into many a soup. Butternut squash and a hint of fresh fennel, lend a sweet and subtle licorice flavour. A bit of spice with curry powder, nutmeg and paprika. And all that’s nice and nutrious, namely, milk, steel cut oats and flax seeds, to add the porridge taste to this soup. I use steel cut or Irish oats, which are more nuttier in flavour than rolled oats. They take longer to cook to and are deemed apt for porridges. It’s this porridge element which imparts a lovely nutty and creamy texture to the soup. No need of any heavy cream, folks. Also no butter, just a tad olive oil.

A great one for all ages!

Servings : 4

Ingredients :

1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed and coarsely chopped.

2 carrots, peeled and diced

1 small onion, diced

2-3 stalks celery, diced

1/2 cup fresh fennel, chopped. About 1/2 a bulb of fennel

1 large garlic clove, minced

1 sprig of fresh thyme

1 cup milk

1/4 cup flax seeds

1/4 cup steel cut oats

Paprika -1/2 tsp

Curry powder – 1/2 tsp

A pinch nutmeg

1 tbsp olive oil

water – 3 cups

Salt and black pepper to taste

In a pan, dry roast the flax seeds and oats on low flame for 5-7 minutes. This brings out a nutty taste. Grind in a processor. The consistency can be course, it doesn’t have to be fine. It will all be blended together while making the soup.

In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil. Add the onions, carrots, celery and fennel. Sauté on medium low heat for a few minutes, till veggies start sweating, add a little salt in between. Add the thyme and garlic. Add the squash.

Sauté on medium low heat for 8-10 minutes, stirring in between, till the squash starts developing a little caramelised color. Add the paprika, curry powder and nutmeg. Add the oats and flax seeds. Stir.

Add the milk. Stir well. Add water.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, till veggies are tender and the oats have cooked.

Remove the sprig of thyme. Blend the soup with a hand blender to a smooth soup consistency. Season with salt and pepper.

Before serving, add a squeeze of lemon juice, chives and serve hot.

 

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