An apology, and an autumn cracker of a soup

Yes, it is more than a year since anyone last thought of this poor neglected blog, myself included.  I’ve been cooking, some, but a year full of travelling and music and movies (both watching and helping to make one!) and various other life changes have conspired to prevent me from spending much time writing outside of work, or being home much to do the kind of culinary experimentation that I so enjoy. 

However, as the winter nights draw in and thoughts turn to wrapping up warmly, getting home earlier and eating comfort food, it seemed like the right time to share a recipe I only just discovered but which I think will become a firm favourite.  It started life as a carrot soup on my very favourite blog of all time, but since I am not too fond of carrots but very enamoured of sweet potatoes and butternut squash, I decided to play around and make it my own. 

The real draw for me was the chili.  After buying a chili plant in the summer and nurturing it on my balcony, my obsession with fiery food has only increased. It elevates this soup into something special, and gives it a kick of heat that is very welcome on a cold day.

Autumn Sweet Potato-Squash-Coconut Soup with Chili and Lime
Adapted from Orangette

50g unsalted butter
800g sweet potato and butternut squash, peeled and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 chili, chopped (and de-seeded if you prefer less heat)
4 cups (950 ml) vegetable stock (or chicken, if you like it better)
1 ½ to 2 (13.5-ounce) cans unsweetened coconut milk
Lime wedges, for serving
A few tbsp of crème fraiche to stir into the soup (if desired)
Chives, chopped (for garnish, if desired)

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the sweet potatoes, squash, chili and onion, season with a few pinches of salt and some pepper, and cook for about 15-20 minutes until the vegetables are soft.

Stir in the stock and coconut milk. Bring to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very soft and the liquid is slightly reduced, which should take about 45 minutes. Puree in a blender or in the pot, using a hand mixer, and do a final taste test to get the seasoning right. 

Garnish with anything you like (I went for a swirl of crème fraiche and some chives) but don’t leave out the lime. A few squeezes of lime juice absolutely make this soup.