Belly-warming smoked paprika butternut soup

Effort: rating_sml Easy
Expense: The wine and black garlic might be a bit pricey, the rest is cheapy cheap
Kitchen fire potential: Virtually none
Serves: 6



I was given black garlic as a gift recently and wanted to use it this weekend. Its regular garlic that has gone through a fermenting process that activates its sugars and makes it coal black. It’s soft, buttery and has a molasses fragrance. It’s very sweet, so I thought it would pair with butternut quite nicely. In this recipe I’ve used two cloves, more than that might have an overpowering flavour as it’s quite potent. If you don’t have it, no worries, use regular garlic and a teaspoon of treacle sugar should probably do.

For meatless Monday, I thought an indulgent soup would do the trick. Also, it’s easy. I love making soups. Throw a bunch of things in a pot. Cook. Blend. Eat.

  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • Half a cup good quality dry white wine (drink the other half..)
  • 750g – 1kg butternut, peeled and cubed into approx 2cm pieces
  • 2 cloves black garlic (regular garlic will be fine if not available), peeled and chopped
  • 1L chicken or veg stock
  • 1 – 2tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 15ml of fresh cream to serve
  • A few sprigs of watercress for garnish
  • Slices of toasted ciabatta for dunking

Put a large pot on the hob on medium heat. Drizzle in the cooking oil. Add the chopped onion and cook slowly, with lid on, with the sugar to lightly caramelise. Really woo this onion, give it time, about 10 minutes, to go translucent and lovely.

Turn the heat up a bit, add the paprika and the black garlic and stir well. Give it about two minutes to go all red and fragrant. Add the white wine and turn up the heat to a boil, and then simmer it until the alcohol has evaporated and the liquid has reduced to half.

Add the butternut pieces and mix well. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil, then turn heat down to a simmer. Stir occasionally. Cook until soft, about 20 minutes.

Using a hand blender (or a regular one, but the hand one means less dishes to wash) blitz the soup until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add the cinnamon, bring back to a boil to heat it through and serve with a splash of cream and some watercress to add crunch and colour.

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