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Spiced butternut squash soup and fritters

The piquant Reblochon cheese fritters turn this glorious soup into a special light lunch to enjoy with friends

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04 JUNE 2010

Ingredients (serves 4)

For the soup

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp dried chilli flakes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 celery stick, trimmed and diced
  • 1 leek, peeled, well rinsed and finely diced
  • 1 white onion, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1ltr/1¾pt chicken stock
  • 100ml/4fl oz double cream
For the fritters
  • 300ml/½pt cold water
  • 125g/4½oz unsalted butter
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 240g/8½oz plain flour
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 250g/9oz Reblochon de Savoie cheese, diced
  • Small bunch fresh chives, finely sliced
  • 2ltr/3½pt vegetable oil for deep frying

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C, 350°F, Gas 4. Scatter the butternut squash into a roasting tray and sprinkle with the coriander, cumin and chilli. Season, drizzle over half the oil and toss to coat. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the veg and garlic in a pan with the remaining oil. Cook over a low heat for 6-8 minutes until starting to soften.

Once the squash is cooked, add it to the pan with the vegetables. Stir in the stock and bring to the boil, then remove from heat and blend until smooth.

Return the soup to the saucepan, stir in the cream and adjust the seasoning. For the fritters, put the water and butter together in a pan, season with a pinch of salt and pepper and heat to melt the butter.

As soon as the mix comes to the boil, remove from the heat and quickly add the flour. Mix to a smooth paste then return to the heat and continue to beat until it forms a ball and comes away cleanly from the side of the pan.

Remove the pan from the heat once again then beat in the egg yolks, mustard and the cheese. Stir in half the chives.

Heat the frying oil to 180°C – do not fill the pan more than halfway up. Cook the fritters in batches. Spoon the cheese mix into the hot oil using 2 teaspoons. When golden brown, remove with a slotted spoon and blot on kitchen paper. Sprinkle with salt once cooked.

To serve, reheat the soup and ladle into warm bowls with 3 fritters on top, a scattering of chives and a drizzle of olive oil, if liked.

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