Sunday, December 7, 2014

Moroccan Pumpkin and Chickpea Soup

 Today we will use the Ras El Hanout spice blend that we prepared in the previous post. This is a
simple, delicious and warming soup good for winter days. The cinnamon and ginger give it a bit of a holiday feel as well as the exotic connection to Morocco. Once you have made it feel free to make variations to make it your own. I used sweet potato as I didn't have any pumpkin. It seems like it would be good with tomato added as well. I chopped some fresh and used them for garnish.
  • 1 lb.  fresh pumpkin, diced (1/2" pieces) could be sweet potato instead
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups cooked or canned chickpeas
  • 3 - 6 Tbsp cilantro depending on how well you like it
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
  • 1 medium to large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 cups vegetable stock (can use bouillon cubes)
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons honey, agave or sweetener of chocie (optional)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon Ras El Hanout (see previous post)
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger chopped or grated
    salt and pepper to taste. Also you can add chile if you like it spicy
In a small stock pot, saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil over medium-low heat until tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the pumpkin, chickpeas, cilantro, broth, sweetener, spices and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer, partially covered, about 15 minutes, until the pumpkin is just tender. At this point it can be eaten but you can simmer it a bit longer to let the flavors marry more completely. The pumpkin and chickpeas will continue to soften and the soup will thicken slightly the longer you cook it. When you feel it is ready, remove and discard the cinnamon stick.
If you wish to thicken the soup more, you can transfer several spoonfuls of broth to a bowl and allow it cool slightly. Add one or two teaspoons of cornstarch or arrowroot to the cooled broth and stir until the mixture is smooth. Stir the cornstarch mixture into the soup and simmer for several more minutes, until the broth has thickened. Or if you like you can puree part of the soup and add it back in. Or if you like a thick, smooth soup puree the whole thing. Adjust spices to taste.
Serve the soup hot or warm with a garnish of freshly ground pepper and nutmeg.
 Bon Appetit !

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