Butternut squash, chestnut and pancetta soup

Serves: 6

Butternut squash, chestnut and pancetta soup

This soup sums up all that is good about brown food. It may lack the vibrancy of a spring or summer number but it’s tasty, comforting and just what you want to eat when the weather is foul. You don’t have to roast the butternut squash-especially if you are short of time- but it does concentrate the flavour and bring out the sweetness of the squash. You may want to deep-fry a few sage leaves for a garnish but as this soup is Good Honest Stuff a twiddly leaf seems out of balance with the contents of the soup bowl.


  • 1.3kg butternut squash, peeled and halved
  • 3 tablespoons sunflower or rapeseed oil
  • 1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 160g pancetta cubes
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 180g cooked chestnuts
  • 2-3 pinches of chilli flakes (depending on how fiery you want to go)
  • 1.4 litres vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped sage leaves
  • To serve croûtons
Butternut squash, chestnut and pancetta soup


  1. Heat the oven to 220˚c, fan oven 200˚c, mark 7. Scoop out the seeds from the hollows of the squash and discard. Cut the flesh into 3cm pieces and place in a roasting tin. Toss with 2 tablespoons of the oil and roast in the oven for about 45 minutes until golden brown. It doesn’t matter if the squash isn’t cooked through.
  2. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large saucepan and gently sauté the onion and garlic with a pinch of salt for about 10 minutes until softened but not coloured. Add the pancetta cubes and coriander and turn the heat up slightly. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5-6 minutes until the pancetta is starting to colour.
  3. Add the roasted squash, chestnuts and chilli flakes to the saucepan. (If you have not roasted the squash you can add the raw cubes at this stage and then gently simmer the soup until the squash is soft, about 35-40 minutes). Pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for about 20 minutes. Take off the heat and stir in the sage. Taste and season with salt and ground black pepper. Cool the soup and liquidise until smooth with a stick blender or in a liquidiser. Scatter over a few croûtons to serve.
Butternut squash, chestnut and pancetta soup