Saturday, November 6, 2010

Squash Soup (two variations)

After receiving a windfall of veggies today I knew it was time to get cookin'! I decided to focus on the butternut squash, and I picked up my copy of Olive Trees and Honey: A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes from Jewish Communities Around the World; paging through, this recipe caught my eye. Though its name calls for pumpkin, the ingredient list allows for butternut squash as well.

Moroccan Pumpkin Soup

from Olive Trees and Honey by Gil Marks

1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 leeks (white & light green parts only) or 2 onions, chopped
8 cups vegetable stock or water
2 to 3 lbs pumpkin, butternut squash, or other winter squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes (5-6 cups)
3 cups cooked chickpeas or 1 cup dried yellow split peas
2 carrots, cut into chunks (optional)
1 to 4 Tbls packed brown sugar
2 cinnamon sticks or 1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground tumeric or saffron thread
1/8 tsp ground allspice or freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp salt
ground black pepper to taste
parsley or cilantro or toasted pumpkin seeds or sauteed mushrooms

1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the leeks and saute until soft, about 5 mins. Add the stock, pumpkin, chickpeas, optional carrots, sugar, spices, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the pumpkin is very soft, about 50 mins. Discard the cinnamon sticks.

2. To serve, garnish with parsley or pumpkin seeds, or top each bowl with a little mount of sauteed mushrooms.


Fiery Pumpkin Soup

Make the recipe above but omit the cinnamon, ginger and allspice. Add, with the onion, 1 minced clove garlic and 1 minced small hot green chili or Scotch bonnet chili, or add about 1 tsp cayenne and 1/2 tsp ground cumin with the pumpkin.

I had one Georgia Flame pepper and wanted to make the spicy option, but because my toddler doesn't always enjoy spicy foods I decided to make the basic recipe as well. I divided the onions, squash, carrots, lentils and liquid between two pots and added the sweet spices to one pot, garlic and the diced pepper to the other.

Extremely Delish! Would be a great dinner for company this autumn. Serve with green salad and hearty bread with butter.

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