Squash is in season in the autumn and there are so many colourful varieties. Always leave the skin on because that is where the best nutrients are - I promise you won't even notice they're there.
Squash is so naturally creamy and buttery, and contrasts beautifully with the soft salty feta cheese. Butternut squash or pumpkin will also work well. If you don't have feta then goats cheese will work just as well, if not better. The crunchy, woody seeds rounds this bowl of sunshine off nicely.
I use very few, simple ingredients because I really think the flavour of the squash speaks for itself. I roast the squash after parboiling it to bring out the flavour but if you're short of time or just could do without the faff you really don't have to. If you have some squash left over once you weighed it out, you can either chuck the lot in and adjust the other ingredients to suit, or you can make dumplings. They are really quick and easy to make I promise. Whatever you do, never throw away edible food!
500g Squash, deseeded and cut into 3cm cubes
1.5 pints of water
1 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, cut into 3-4 rough chunks
2 tbsp of vegetable bouillon, or other similar stock
2 tbsp of Nutritional Yeast (optional but advised if you are vegan)
1 tbsp of dried sage, or a clump of fresh leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
20g feta cheese
85g Squash, or however much is remaining.
50g plain wholemeal flour, or adjust according to how much squash is remaining
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Parboil the squash and garlic in the cold water and bring it to the boil and cook for 5 minutes with the lid on until al dente and just turning soft. Drain but save the water, which should have turned a lovely orange colour and have pulp sinking to the bottom.
Put the squash and garlic in a baking tray with the oil and garlic with a good sprinkling of salt and pepper, and roast for 15 minutes. If you don't have time to roast just continue boiling until the squash is very soft.
Put the baking tray on a heat proof surface and add the previously drained pulpy water to the squash and garlic in the baking tray. This will make it easier to transfer all the squash to the pan and make it easier to clean (I'm down with that!). Transfer the contents to the pan and add the bouillon, Nutritional Yeast and sage. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes or so. Take off the head and blitz until smooth.
The water will have reduced so add more water to the pan so that all the squash is covered by liquid but you can still see the squash. Be careful not to add to much at this stage. You can always add water at the end.
Return the soup to the saucepan to heat up a little. Alter the seasoning with salt and pepper, and alter the consistency of the soup with water as you see fit. Meanwhile, take the pumpkin seeds and dry fry them in a pan until they begin to pop and sprinkle on top of the soup along with some crumbled feta cheese. Enjoy!
If you have time, energy or can be bothered, then making these dumplings are so worth it. Boil the remaining squash. You will need around 85g of raw squash to 50g of plain flour.
When soft, drain (saving the water to top up your soup if you need to) and allow to steam dry in the pan. Mash up with a fork and season with salt and pepper. Now add plain flour to the mashed squash and mix it like dough until you can a malleable consistency. and can be moulded easily.
Now divide your dough into 8 pieces and use your hands to roll them into balls. When your soups has been blitzed up and is back in the pan, add your dumplings. The soup will be ready to serve when the dumplings have risen to the top. Boom.
Really, no meat is needed with this dish but if you must you could add some leftover roast chicken - make sure it's reheated properly before adding it.
If going vegan simply eliminate the cheese - it will taste just as good. Or use a good quality plant-based cheese instead.