Butternut Squash Soup
The Duck Terrace Restaurant at Marfield House is a lovely hour’s drive from Dublin. Arrive early for cocktails in the bar of the estate’s main house and leave time for a brisk walk before dinner around the 40 acres of formal gardens, encompassing a woodlands, lake, and lawns with herbaceous borders. Seek a table near the roaring fire (it rains nearly 200 days a year here) but wander through the cleverly restored courtyard buildings, once this country manor’s coach house, potting, and gardener’s tool sheds. The farm to fork menu is modern fusion with a wood-fired oven inspiring Italian dishes and several Asian meets Irish taste buds offerings. This soup is inspired by one on the September menu just after ‘Beaky Bits’ and under the heading‘Pekish Duck’.
A kaffir lime leaf may be substituted for the lime zest. A teaspoon of minced lemongrass adds a nuanced complexity. Serve with homemade kale chips for the perfect texture combination. Reserve the seeds and roast them with a bit of olive oil and sea salt and toss with the kale chips. This recipe is easily halved or doubled.
3.5 to 4 pounds butternut squash
Extra virgin olive oil
2 large yellow onions, chopped
4 cups water
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
Sea salt and freshly ground
14 ounce can coconut milk
Juice and zest of one lime
2 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and remove the guts and seeds. Rub the surface with olive oil and place cut side down on a half sheet baking tray. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes (until a knife is easily inserted into the meatiest part of the squash). When cool enough to handle, remove the flesh from the skin and reserve.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a LARGE POT over medium low heat. Add the onions and sauté until the onions are transparent and beginning to turn color. Add the ginger and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, just until the ginger becomes fragrant.
3. Add the squash and the water to the onion mixture. Cook over medium low heat for 30 minutes.
4. Remove from heat and add the coconut milk. Transfer the soup to a Vitamix or blender (alternatively, use an immersion blender), and whir until the soup is the consistency of runny velvet.
5. Add the zest and lime juice and stir to combine.
6. Reheat the soup over low heat just before serving. Transfer the soup to serving bowls and sprinkle with cilantro.