Butternut squash and chesnut soup with curried bacon bits

>I served it as a main dish tonight with a loaf of brown organic bread. With the rain beating down on the windows and the wind outside, it was the most perfect meal to warm up the soul after a cold and wet afternoon. I served myself a glass of Mead with it – but any sweet pudding wine would do to compliment the cinnamon and sweet chestnut undertones of the soup. Do try Mead if you can though: so british and quaint – the National trust shops usually stock it.

Ingredients:
2 shallots
Dash of rapeseed oil
1 butternut squash
1 tin of chesnuts (cooked and whole)
Cinnamon, curry powder and 2 cloves
Salt and pepper
2 maggi cubes (or chicken stock) dissolved in 1 litre of boiling water
Squirt of tomato paste
Dash of single cream
Bacon cubes (tossed in a sprinkle of curry powder)
Quickly fry the chopped shallots in some rapeseed oil in a deep casserole dish. Once soft and slightly charred, add the peeled and diced squash, the stock (about 500ml first). Season to taste with the spices, salt and pepper.
Simmer on low heat for about 30mn, then add the rest of the stock and the chesnuts. I use the tins by Clement Faugier and get them from Waitrose.
Squirt out a bit of tomato paste (in tube or tub). Simmer a little longer, then take off the stove and blitz in a blender for a few seconds: The soup should be smooth and creamy and not too liquid.
Serve hot in big bowls with the fried up bacon bits and a nice swirl of single cream.
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