Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Moroccan Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut milk, Pomegranates and Pepitas





It's not my mom's Moroccan Harira soup, nor is it my kid's baboushka chicken noodle or matzo ball soup.This dish is a symbol of something greater.

It's a soup adapted from the food world that surrounds me. There is something grand to be noticed on our online food communities. Food is uniting different cultures in a way that puts foreign policy to shame. 

An Israeli food boom is being embraced. Ever since social media came into the picture, Jewish and Israeli cuisine has gained recognition in skyrocketing ways. Currently, Zahav is taking the cookbook world by storm with Michael Solomonov's sentimental story and his Israeli dish repertoire, even the NY Times is writing about it. You can find hundreds of creative babka related posts like Half Baked Harvest's Salted Chocolate and Marzipan Babka recipe or Food52's comical 11 Recipes to Make While Binge-Watching Seinfeld.


This Buzzfeed Americans Try Israeli Snacks video and 36 Mouthwatering Hamantaschen To Make This Purim post will surely put smiles on anyone who can relate. Even Saveur Magazine's Baking Blogger of 2015, Molly Yeh, blogs about her trip to Israel and Jerusalem Bagels, Harissa Honey Labne, and a Middle Eastern Wine & Cheese Party. Gotta love that girl! 

Although this soup isn't a traditional Moroccan soup my mother would make, it resonated with me because it was coined Moroccan and is loaded with spices like cayenne, cumin, paprika, curry etc.. The fusion of diverse flavors  and ingredients has a distinct and indirect way of uniting people from different backgrounds. This recipe calls for coconut oil and milk, which sounds more thai to me, but regardless we live in cooking world where food fusions are simply booming. I have made this dish 3 times in less than 30 days, and I keep on getting rave reviews from family and friends. Make this soup tomorrow and embrace the amazing world we live in! Beteavon!



MOROCCAN BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP WITH COCONUT MILK, 
POMEGRANATES AND PEPITAS
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Prep 15 MIN |  Cooking Time 45 MIN | Serves 4 
Adapted from author Half Baked Harvest

INGREDIENTS

INSTRUCTIONS
1 head garlic, for roasting
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 cups butternut squash,
peeled and cubed
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme,
chopped or 1/4 teaspoon dried
1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk (make sure it's thick)
2 cups vegetable broth, (I bought mine this time)
Pomegranate, for topping
Salt and pepper, to taste
Pepitas for topping
Roughly chopped coriander,
for topping

Coconut Ginger Cream
1/2 cup cooled canned coconut milk
1-2 tablespoons fresh ginger



1.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Chop off the top portion of the garlic head to reveal cloves. Peel any excess paper/skin off the bulb of garlic.
2.  Pour about one teaspoon of olive oil on top of the garlic cloves and cover with foil. Roast for 45 minutes, or until the garlic is golden brown and soft.
3.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool five minutes. Squeeze garlic out of the paper skin into a small bowl, mash well with a fork and set aside.
4.  Meanwhile, add the coconut oil to a large soup pot set over medium heat. Once hot, add the red pepper and cook for 3-5 minutes or until soft.
5.  Add the cubed butternut squash, curry powder, paprika, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne and thyme. Season with salt and pepper.
6.  Cook for 3-5 minutes then pour in the coconut milk and veggie broth. Bring the soup to boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the butternut squash is fork tender.While the soup is cooking, make the ginger cream.
7.  Add the cold coconut milk and 1 tablespoon ginger to a small bowl.
8.  Taste and add more ginger if needed. Cover and place in the fridge until ready to serve.Once the butternut squash is tender, add the roasted garlic and the crumbled goat cheese to the soup.
9.  Remove the pot from the stove and allow to cool slightly, then puree the soup in a blender or food processor. Return the soup back to the stove and heat through.
10.  To serve, ladle the soup into bowl. Drizzle the coconut ginger cream over the soup and swirl with a spoon.
11.  Garnish with chopped coriander, pepitas and a sprinkle of pomegranate.