Wood-fired squash and apple soup, crisp bread, whipped sheep’s cheese

I created this soup for the recent Saltaire Supper collaboration with Phil from Saltaire’s very own micro pub, the Cap and Collar.

Squash and Bramley apple makes for a brilliant flavour combination and they are enhanced considerably by roasting over charcoal before being used in the soup. If you don’t have a wood oven or barbecue then roast the veg in a domestic oven, it will still improve the results.

Served with a Swedish-inspired crisp bread and whipped Ewe’s milk cheese the soup is gently warmed with fennel, coriander and cumin.

Serves 6 as a starter 

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Ingredients

(soup)

  • 2 medium butternut squashed, chopped into 1 inch cubes
  • 4 medium bramley apples, chopped into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 medium brown onions, sliced thinly
  • 3 medium cloves of garlic, crushed to a paste
  • 2 red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup medium dry sherry
  • 1 heaped teaspoon each of ground coriander, fennel and caraway
  • 1 litre good quality vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 cup double cream
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • fresh black pepper

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(crisp bread)

  • 50g dark rye flour
  • 50 g plain flour
  • 150g mixed seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 25ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 75ml hot water

(cheese)

  • 250g soft sheeps cheese
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • black pepper
  • sea salt

WOOD FIRED SQUASH AND APPLE SOUP WITH CRISP BREAD AND WHIPPED SHEEPS CHEESE

For the Soup

  1. Preheat your oven or barbecue to 180°c. In a large bowl or deep roasting tray, toss your diced squash and apples in oil, salt and pepper. Transfer to to the oven and roast for 40 minutes, turning from time to time until tender and golden brown around the edges. If using a barbecue take care with the apples as they will start to roast and melt down most quickly and might need an early rescue.
  2. In a large soup or stew pot heat 3 tbsp olive oil and add your onions. Sweat gently without adding colour until translucent. Add your crushed garlic and chilli and cook for another minute until fragrant.
  3. Add the sherry and reduce right down to a syrup and until the raw alcohol smell has turned to sweetness.
  4. Add your roasted vegetables and spices, rosemary and thyme mix thoroughly and then add your hot stock, bringing to the boil and reducing to simmer for 40 minutes until everything is thoroughly tender.
  5. Once tender, blend carefully until you have the consistency of soup you prefer. Add the cream little by little, tasting as you go until you have your perfect mix of savoury, spice and sweetness.
  6. Check seasoning and keep warm to serve.

For the Bread

  1. Heat the oven to 350 F (180 C). Take a large and a roll of parchment paper.
  2. Add all the dry ingredients to a very large, spacious bowl. Stir well, then tip in the oil and water. Stir well and use your hands to form a compact ball if needed.
  3. Place a sheet of parchment paper onto a large surface and place the dough on top. Cover with another sheet of paper, and flatten the dough into a large and thin rectangle using a rolling pin.
  4. Remove the parchment paper on top and transfer carefully the flattened bread with the bottom parchment sheet into the baking tray.
  5. Lightly score into pieces with a sharp knife if you wish to create specific shapes later on.
  6. Place the tray in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes until a deep golden brown.
  7. Let cool and break into pieces, or crack along the scored lines. with a heavy knife.

For the Cheese

  1. Beat the cheese in a food processor before adding the lemon juice and zest.
  2. Check the consistency for piping or spooning and add olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.

 

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