As the cooler weather sets in, try this recipe for Butternut and Orange Soup with bacon croutons

900 g butternut, peeled and cubed (it’s a good idea to buy ready-peeled and cubed in this case)
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cumin
1 fresh chilli, deseeded and chopped (optional)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
about 3 cups chicken stock made with just-boiled water and left to cool slightly
1 orange, juiced and zested

Bacon Croutons:
1 Tbsp olive oil
3–4 rashers bacon, roughly chopped

How to
Preheat the oven to 180 °C.

Drizzle the butternut cubes and onion with the olive oil, sprinkle over the spices and chilli (if using), season lightly with salt and pepper and roast until lightly golden and the butternut has cooked through, about 45 minutes. Add the apple pieces about halfway through so that they don’t burn.

Add the butternut, onions and apples to a blender and pour in the stock, starting with 2 cups. Also add in the orange juice and zest. Blend until smooth, adding the final cup if necessary, depending on your preferred consistency. Season to taste and set aside until serving.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a frying pan until very hot. Fry the bacon bits until crispy, pour out any excess oil, remove from the heat and set aside until serving.

Scatter the crispy bacon over the soup before serving in warmed bowls with fresh crusty bread on the side.

Note: This soup freezes well for up to two months.

Recipe provided by Sarah Graham, author of Bitten, Smitten and A Foodie Lives Here food blog.

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