DAVID WOODS: Ignite your bonfire party with a spicy butternut soup

Spicy butternut soup
Spicy butternut soup

The autumn colours of butternut squash and a fiery kick from fresh chilli make this the perfect soup for Guy Fawkes’ night, says David Woods, executive head chef of the Sofitel London Gatwick Hotel...

Soup is one of the most versatile dishes as you can make it from almost anything.

That pasta sauce you had the night before can be blitzed in a food blender, then thinned down with a little cream to become today’s soup lunch.

Leftover vegetables from the Sunday roast can be whizzed into home-made chicken stock.

Recently, I couldn’t waste the shells of fresh langoustine that I’d had for lunch, so in the pot they went, with some stock and a few other ingredients.

Fifteen minutes later, I had a delicious soup finished with a touch of pastis. Or it can be made from scratch with seasonal vegetables like butternut squash, which is plentiful in autumn.

My favourite soup will always be lentil as it is the one my mum used to make. I can still remember helping her to make it and then push it through a fine sieve.

If you are planning a bonfire night party, I’ve added an extra kick to this soup with fresh chilli stirred in just before serving to fight off the cold.

To book a table at La Brasserie, Sofitel’s 2 AA rosette restaurant, call 01293 567070 (select 3 for dining) or email SLG@sofitelgatwick.com. Follow us on Twitter/Instagram and tag us @SofitelLondonGA in your spicy soup creations.

Spicy butternut soup

1 butternut squash

1 tb rapeseed oil

30g butter

1 medium onion, diced

1 stick of celery, sliced

2 rounded dessert spoons of tomato puree

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 red chilli, finely chopped

600ml vegetable stock

400ml tin of coconut milk

100ml cream to garnish

Coriander for garnish


First, roast the butternut squash – no need to peel it.

Simply cut in half and remove the seeds, then cut into 2cm chunks.

Place in a roasting dish and toss with rapeseed oil.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast for 20 minutes at 180oC.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter and gently sweat the onion, celery and garlic. Stir in the tomato paste and half the chopped chilli. Cook for a minute then add the roasted butternut squash, vegetable stock and coconut milk.

Gently simmer, with the lid on, for 45 minutes. Remove from the heat and carefully blitz in a food processor until silky smooth.

When ready to serve, pour back into the saucepan and add the rest of the chilli. Season with salt and pepper. Reheat then serve sprinkled with chopped coriander and swirls of cream.

Chef’s tip

Mix the thick part of the coconut milk (the bit normally near the tin lid) with the cream before swirling on top of the soup. And for a salty zing, fry 2 tablespoons of mini capers in rapeseed oil for about a minute until they go crispy, then sprinkle on the soup just before serving.

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