I think swede (rutabaga) has been ignored for too long, but I feel it’s making a bit of a comeback. It certainly makes a great warming winter soup, which goes brilliantly with the sliced caramelized chestnuts.
1swede (rutabaga), about 400g/14oz total weight, peeled and diced
1butternut squash, about 500g/1lb2oz total weight, peeled, deseeded and diced
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6. Put the swede (rutabaga) in a roasting tray, drizzle over the olive oil and season with a little salt and pepper. Roast for 5 minutes, then add the squash, stir to coat in the oil, then continue to roast for a further 7–10 minutes until they are just beginning to colour around the edges but are not cooked through. Remove from the tray and drain on paper towel.
Meanwhile, heat a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add half the butter and the onion and cook for 3–4 minutes until just softened but not coloured. Add the roasted swede (rutabaga) and squash to the pan and toss together, then pour in the stock, cream and milk and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat down to low and simmer gently for about 30 minutes, uncovered, until the vegetables are very soft. The soup must not boil or the cream will curdle.
While the soup is cooking, make the caramelized chestnuts. Heat a non-stick frying pan (skillet) over a medium heat. Add the remaining butter and when foaming, add the chestnuts and sugar. Cook for 3–4 minutes, turning once, until the chestnuts start to caramelize but take care they don’t burn. Tip the chestnuts onto baking paper and leave to cool and become crisp, then roughly slice them.
When the soup is ready, ladle it into a blender and blend until very smooth (you may have to do this in batches depending on the size of your blender), then pass it through a fine sieve (strainer) into the cleaned saucepan; it should be very creamy and velvety. Season with salt and pepper to taste and warm the soup through. If you feel it is a little thick, add some more stock. Serve drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and topped with the caramelized chestnuts.