Butternut squash has fall written all over it and nothing is more comforting than a warm cup of soup in this cold weather. I love butternut squash; mashed, sauteed with some sage and butter, baked in the oven with some olive oil, I might even try it in this pumpkin pie recipe. My favorite, though, is: butternut squash soup. You can add a whole bunch of vegetables to it and blend the whole thing in a food processor, and you’ve got yourself a really good cup of soup.
The trouble with soup is that it needs croutons. Yes, it’s very hard for me to eat soup without some crunch in it. So I decided to pair this soup with some roasted chestnuts, which turned out really nicely. I love the combination of flavors and the texture the chestnuts add to the soup.
Here’s what I gathered to make the soup:
- 1 butternut squash, about 11/2 lbs
- 1-2 Tblspn butter or olive oil or a combination of both
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 2 Carrots, chopped into very small pieces
- 1/2-3/4 coconut milk
- 1/2-1 tsppn dried thyme (you can also use fresh)
- 1 bay leaf
- 5 cups water (you might need more) or chicken broth
- 1/4 lb chestnuts
- Fresh sage leaves (optional) for garnish.
- Salt and pepper to taste
1-Peel the squash with a vegetable peeler, cut it in half, then into small cubes. Preheat the oven to 400˚. Make small cuts into the chestnuts with a pairing knife (this is very important so they don’t explode while cooking) and roast in the oven for about 25 minutes or until they open up.
2- Heat up the butter and oil, add the chopped onions and sautee until softened.
3- Add the chopped garlic, celery, butternut squash, half of the carrots, bay leaf, thyme, salt, and pepper.
4- Stir everything together then add water or chicken broth.
5- Bring everything to a boil then lower the heat to simmer. Cover the pot and let cook until the vegetables are nice and soft.
6- Once the vegetables are cooked, about 20-30 minutes, put all the ingredients in a food processor or a blender (I used a blender), blend until it’s very smooth and creamy. You might need to do that in 2 or 3 batches to puree the whole thing.
7- Transfer the soup back to the pot, adjust the seasoning. Add more thyme if you want. Then add the coconut milk and the rest of the carrots, let it simmer for few more minutes until the carrots are soft. Peel and chop the chestnuts.
8- Serve with some chestnuts and fried sage.
If you’re not an Arabic speaker you may have wondered what the heck does the title of my blog mean? Mumkin, pronounced moumkin, in Arabic can mean a few things: maybe; it’s possible; is it possible?; can I have?; or you may have!
So yes, you may have some pumpkin… absolutely, especially this season. I’m going to be cooking up a whole lot of pumpkin recipes. To name a few: these amazing custard cups (delicious, I just made them); Egyptian pumpkin dessert (world renowned – darn those Egyptians really CAN do everything!); a paleo version of the Egyptian pumpkin dessert; and some paleo style pumpkin bread/cake. So scroll on down.
This recipe was inspired by this colorful and very informative book. Yes a book dedicated exclusively to sweet potatoes (and other food/health related topics). I’m a food nerd like that! The recipe in the book is absolutely delicious, but since we’re in pumpkin season and pumpkin is awesome and my family’s official mascot, I’ve decided to make it with pumpkin and tweak a few other things!
Go add the following to your grocery list:
- 1/2-3/4 cup canned pumpkin
- 1/4 cup honey (from my brother in-law’s beehive!)
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup blanched almond flour (I’ve used this – the almond meal at Trader Joes, and I’ve also made my own)
- 1/4- 1/2 cup chopped dates
- 1/4 tspn ground sea salt
- 3/4 tspn baking soda
- 1/4 tspn nutmeg
- 1/2 tspn cinnamon
- 1/4 cup shredded coconut (optional)
1- Heat your oven to 350˚. Chop the dates, and get all your ingredients ready by your food processor.
2- In the food processor, combine the pumpkin puree, honey, and eggs. Pulse until well blended together, for about 1 minute.
3- Add the chopped dates and pulse 1-2 times.
4- Add the flour and seasonings for another one minute.
5- Pour the batter into a greased 8×8 square baking pan (I used coconut oil for the pan). Bake for about 30 minutes, but check it after 20 minutes. Make sure you don’t over bake the cake.
Ash (the a pronounced like the a in Fall) is a very popular Persian dish. It’s a mixture of beans, some sort of grains or reshteh (Persian noodles,) and a lot of herbs and spinach. It is just perfect for this time of year and I’ve never made it! The first time I had it was at friend’s house in CT 5 years ago and never forgot how scrumptious it was.
But Yasmine, I thought you’re eating like a Cavewoman? Well, not all the time. I love beans, I grew up eating them. And let’s be honest with ourselves, it’s a staple in my country! I’m not here to tell you what’s good and not good for you. I will leave it for the wonderful people here to tell you more.
After reading through 10-15 recipes online on how to make Asheh Reshteh or Ash.I was inspired by this and also this, then I decided to make do with whatever ingredients I had at home, after buying some herbs. I gathered some ingredients and started making the soup:
- 1 lb stew beef
- 2 medium sized onions, chopped.
- 1-2 onions sliced, for frying
- 5 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 11/2 tspn of turmeric
- 3 cups mixed sprouted beans
- 1 cup of (some random grain I found in my pantry. Seriously, I’m not sure what it is.) Barley, may be!
- 1 bunch Parsley
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 1/4 cup Chives
- 1/4 cup dill
- 3 cups fresh baby spinach
- 10 cups water + 1 cup Chicken broth
- 2 Tblspns of olive oil + more for frying the onions for garnish
- Yogurt or sour cream for garnish
Here’s how I made the Ash:
- I started by sauteing the onions in 2 Tbspn olive oil until translucent.
- I added the beef and browned it on all sides, then threw in the garlic, turmeric and stirred for few more minutes.
- Then I added the beans, the mysterious grain, 8 cups of water, and the chicken broth.
4- I left the soup to simmer on low heat for about 2 hours. I added more water half way through and gave it few stirs. I started browning the extra 2 onions in some olive oil, I cooked them for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly on medium heat. (The caramelized onions are an essential part of the dish, they add a lot of depth to the mélange flavors in the soup, that’s my humble opinion)
5- When the meat was tender, I took it out and threw it into the food processor as this brilliant recipe suggested, gave it a few pulses until it was chopped.
7- I put the herbs in the pot and let it simmer for 20 more minutes until the spinach was nice and soft and everything was cooked through. At this point, I added salt and pepper and some more turmeric!
8- I Got the fried onions, yogurt, and some soup bowls ready and served my hungry children and husband:)
Bon Appetit or as they say in Persian.. nuş e jan –نوش جان