This hearty, rib-sticking soup welcomes all sorts of Christmas leftovers and brings out the best in them.
1.5kg/3lb 5oz butternut squash, seeds removed, flesh cut into large wedges
5 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 potatoes, cut into cubes
1 Bramley apple, peeled, core removed, flesh chopped
2 litres/3½ pints hot chicken or vegetable stock
1 sprig fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
500g/1lb 2oz chestnuts, roasted and peeled, plus extra, sliced, to serve
400g/14oz ready-made chestnut purée
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
Place the butternut squash pieces into a roasting tin and drizzle over three tablespoons of the olive oil. Transfer to the oven and roast for 25-30 minutes, or until the squash is tender and golden-brown. Set aside to cool.
When the butternut squash has cooled, drain off the oil and peel away the skin, taking care not to burn your fingers.
Heat the remaining olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat, add the onion, garlic, potatoes and apple and fry for 4-5 minutes, stirring regularly, until softened.
Add the stock, roasted squash, thyme, bay leaves, chestnuts and the chestnut purée. Stir well and season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Bring the mixture to the boil, turn down the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Set aside to cool.
Transfer the mixture to a food processor and blend until smooth. Return to the pan and heat until warmed through.
To serve, divide the soup equally between ten serving bowls. Garnish each serving with a few drops of truffle oil and cream (if using) and sprinkle over the sliced roasted chestnuts.
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