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Butternut Squash and White Bean Soup

Preparation time : 20 minutes,
soaking time : Overnight,
Cooking time : 1 1/2 hours,
Calories per serving: 145

ingredients

serves 6 - 8
1 butternut squash or 1 small pumpkin
8 oz (225 g) dried white beans
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
3 pints (1.7 litres) vegetable or chicken stock
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 bay leaf
3/4 pint (450 ml) semi-skimmed or whole milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Celery leaves for garnish

method

1. Soak the beans overnight in cold water. Drain them and place in a large saucepan. Roughly chop the onion and garlic and add them to the pan with 2 pints (1.1 litres) of the stock, 1 teaspoon of the dried thyme and the bay leaf.

2. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat. Cover and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours until the beans are tender.

3. Peel the butternut and discard the seeds and membrane. Finely dice the flesh and simmer in the reserved stock and thyme for 15 minutes until tender.

4. Allow to cool, then remove the bay leaf from the beans, add the butternut squash, milk and stock mixture and puree in a liquidiser until smooth.

5. Return to the pan and reheat gently. Season to taste, sprinkle paprika in the centre of each serving and garnish with the chopped celery leaves.

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