About this recipe:This golden, velvet-textured soup is very satisfying and perfect for a warm light lunch on a chilly day. Bramley apple adds a sweet-sour tang to the flavour, with added zip from chillies.
85g pepperoni sausage, diced
1 large onion, chopped
1 butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and chopped
1 Bramley apple, peeled, cored and chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
sprig of fresh thyme or ½ tsp dried
½ tsp crushed dried chillies
600ml chicken stock
TO SERVE: wholemeal bread croûtons (made from 2 medium-thick slices of bread)
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Method Prep:30min › Cook:1hr › Ready in:1hr30min
Put the pepperoni in a large, heavy-based saucepan and fry gently for 3–4 minutes until the fat runs off and the pieces are lightly browned. Lift out and drain on kitchen paper, leaving the fat in the pan. Reserve the pepperoni for garnish.
Add the onion to the pan and fry gently in the pepperoni oil for 4–5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened.
Stir in the squash, apple, garlic, thyme and chillies, cover and leave to cook on a very low heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender.
Remove the sprig of thyme and tip the contents of the pan into a food processor or blender. Add about half the stock and process to a smooth purée. (You may need to do this in 2 batches.) Return to the pan and add the remaining stock. Reheat gently and season to taste.
Serve the soup hot, with a few pieces of pepperoni and the croûtons sprinkled over.
*For a vegetarian version, replace the chicken stock with vegetable stock and use soya bacon bits or toasted pumpkin seeds to sprinkle over the soup in place of the pepperoni. You'll also need 1 tbsp olive oil to fry the onion. *If you prefer, a generous dash of chilli sauce can be added to the soup instead of the crushed dried chillies.
To make crispy, low-fat croûtons, toast the bread on both sides, then cut off the crusts and cut into cubes.