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    Cinnamon Spiced Squash Soup

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    Cinnamon Spiced Squash Soup

    The merest whiff of cinnamon evokes Christmas for many, conjuring up freshly baked sticky buns, aromatic roasted pears and warming drinks of mulled wine, hot chocolate or buttered rum. Cinnamon is the dried inner bark of a laurel-like tree, Cinnamomum verum, that originated in Sri Lanka. As the bark dries, it is rolled into tight quills (sticks) that are sold whole or ground and can be used in sweet or savoury recipes. Always store in air-tight jars in a cool, dark place, and discard when the aroma fades.

    • Preparation time: 25 minutes
    • Cooking time: 35 minutes
    • Total time: 1 hour 60 minutes

    Serves: 6

    Ingredients

    • 1 large butternut squash
    • 4 tbsp olive oil
    • 2 onions, roughly diced
    • 3 sticks celery, roughly diced
    • 2 cloves garlic, roughly diced
    • 2 red chillies, finely sliced
    • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
    • 700ml water
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 200ml carton crème fraîche
    • To finish
    • Ground cinnamon
    • 142ml carton soured cream

    Method

    1. Top and tail the squash. Cut away its tough skin, slice it in half and scrape out the seeds.
    2. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan and gently fry the onion, celery, garlic and chilli until soft, adding each to the pan after chopping. Gently fry while roughly dicing the squash flesh.
    3. Stir the cinnamon into the vegetables, cook for a minute then add the squash, stir and cover. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once soft, add the water. Bring up to the boil then simmer for 20 minutes or until very soft. Liquidise, adding more water if necessary. Transfer to a clean pan.
    4. Reheat when needed. Adjust the seasoning, remove from the heat and whisk in the crème fraîche. Ladle into bowls, swirl in a dollop of sour cream as a garnish, dust with cinnamon and serve.

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