Saturday, 29 January 2011

Tricky lunches

Lunches during the week have historically been difficult for me.  Having hauled myself out of the pit of "sandwich&crisps" years ago, I've been through salads, shop bought soups and home made soups.  The latter being particularly tricky due to lack of re-heating facility at work, which has now been worked around by the use of a wide-mouthed Thermos flask.  It still remains something that annoys the crap out of me that it takes up so much time and effort to make lunches.  However, I struggle on most of the time and I'm in a home made soups phase at the moment...

Winter Squash, Beans and Chorizo soup (4 portions; 305kcals, 17g protein, 40g carb, 10g fat, 12g fibre, 5.5 portions of fruit&veg):-
  • 1 large Winter Squash (approx 1kg after de-seeding and peeling)
  • 15ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tsp Fennel Seeds
  • 1 Drained Can/224g Borlotti Beans
  • 1 Vegetable Stock Cube
  • 1 Drained Can/180g Kidney Beans (in water, not sauce)
  • ½ Ring/112.5g Spanish Chorizo Ring
  • 1 Tin/400g Tinned Plum Tomatoes
Almost any Winter squash will do in this recipe; Butternut, Turks Turban, Sunshine, Table Ace, Pumpkin (all varieties) etc. but not Spaghetti Squash as that's a bit too stringy and the texture isn't creamy enough.  Peel and de-seed the squash.

Slice into thick slices, then cut into cubes.

Place the cubed squash in a large container that has a lid, add the fennel seeds and olive oil, put the lid on and shake/toss to coat all of the pieces well.

Spread the chunks over a baking tray and bake in the oven on a medium heat for 30 minutes or until soft and chewy-looking.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool a bit.  Make up the vegetable stock with a little hot water and have some extra water on standby.  Add the stock to the squash chunks along with the tinned tomatoes and blend to a thick, smooth consistency with a hand blender.  You should see soft ridges in the paste.

Gradually add more hot water, continuing to blend until you have a soup consistency you would like.  I'd err on the side of thicker than thinner as you can always thin it a bit more later.

Chop the chorizo into small cubes.

Add the drained beans and chopped chorizo to the squash soup/puree.

Then gently stir together to coat the beans and chorizo chunks but not break them up.

If eating immediately, re-heat gently in a pan and serve.   Otherwise you can chill it in portions and it will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days or in the freezer for a few weeks.  Reheat carefully and do not add salt until reheating is complete otherwise the beans will become hard and unpleasant.

1 comment:

  1. I roast the squash cut in half, which makes the peeling much easier as the skin falls away from the flesh when it's done. Then I add the other ingredient (apart from the beans and chorzoi) and cook in a slow cooker. If you omit the tomatoes, this recipe has a lovely 'buttery' flavour.

    I 'discovered' adding beans to soups just before serving fairly recently. Such soups make a hearty and delicious lunch.