I realise you will all start to think I only make orange coloured soups! I do make them quite often as I always seem to have some bendy carrots in the fridge. Normally I would roast a butternut squash for soup because it adds so much to the flavour of the finished dish. However, when I don’t have time for such things I cheat and use Worcester Sauce. The ‘real’ stuff (by which I mean Lea & Perrins) contains both gluten (in the UK) and anchovies – instantly making your vegetable soup meaty as well. So for years I used Geo Watkins Mushroom Ketchup – no fish in there! But that has barley malt extract in it so I won’t use it now. There is a bit of a debate on how little gluten there might be in sauces like this, how little one might use to flavour something, and whether this falls below the gluten codex level for safety. My rule of thumb though is if a product doesn’t appear in the Coeliac UK Food and Drink Directory then I’m not using it. So now I use Biona Worcester Sauce, which is both gluten-free and vegan. I can’t really tell the difference in the things that I add it to, but then I don’t eat anything with the ‘real’ stuff anymore how can I compare! I’ve heard some people say that the Tiger Tiger brand sauce is much more authentic in flavour but since it is so difficult to get hold of, I haven’t tried it yet. Do you have a preference? This soup is perfectly fine without the sauce, but if you add some it is lifted to something very moreish. I encourage you to seek out a bottle if you’ve not already!
Fennel, carrot and butternut squash soup
Prep time 10 minutes Cook time 30 minutes Makes 6 (adult) servings
- 2 tbsp oil or 30g butter or dairy-free alternative
- 2 small fennel bulbs cleaned and chopped into 1″ chunks (around 290-300g prepared)
- 3 medium carrots, scrubbed and chopped into ½” cubes (270-280g prepared)
- 1 smallish butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and chopped into 1″ cubes (Mine was 630g before preparation)
- 750ml stock, vegetable or chicken
- 1-2 tsp gluten-free Worcester Sauce according to taste
- salt and pepper
Heat the butter or oil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan and sweat the vegetables for 10 minutes over a low heat with the lid on. Add the stock, stir and simmer covered for 20 minutes. Check the veggies are soft with the tip of knife, and simmer some more if not done. Remove from the heat and blend until smooth with either a stick blender or a liquidizer, and return to the pan when done. Add the Worcester Sauce, and check seasoning adding salt and pepper to taste. Reheat if necessary and serve in warmed bowls or mugs.