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Chickpea, butternut squash and sweet potato soup

In this recipe you can vary the proportions of the above ingredients depending on taste and how much of each you have in the kitchen. Although I have included it in the vegetarian section, it is even nicer with a rich, meat based stock.  The best version was when I made a pork stock using the bone and kidney from a pork loin. You can substitute one cup of dried lentils for the chickpeas.   

Ingredients
  • half - whole butternut squash, depending on how much you have and taste 

  • a can of chickpeas, or a good helping of dried chickpeas, washed, soaked and cooked ( or 1 cup dried red lentils) 

  • 1 or 2 sweet potatoes 

  • olive oil 

  • garlic - lots of cloves 

  • seasoning

  • 1 tsp ground cumin

  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 1 onion 

  • stock - stock from joint of pork, chicken or beef works really well to give full flavour, but otherwise a vegetable stock cube or vegetable stock left from boiling veggies is good.  When you judge the amount of stock think about how liquidy or thick you want your soup to be.  I tend to add less to begin with and add more and more as the liquid evaporates in cooking 

  • a twist of lemon

  • spoonful of yoghurt, creme fraiche or sour cream if you have some in the fridge. If not, there is no need to buy any if money or time is tight

Method
  1. If you are using dried chickpeas, wash them, soak them overnight and then simmer for a good couple of hours. If you are using a can of chickpeas, open the said can, drain and leave aside for later.
  2. Chop the butternut squash and sweet potatoes into fairly large chunks and put in a roasting tray with a good drizzle of olive oil and lots of cloves of garlic.  Season with salt, pepper, ground cumin and ground cinnamon. Mix well.  
  3. Roast in a high-medium oven for about 30-40 minutes or until the squash and potatoes are tender but not burnt.  
  4. Meanwhile, fry the onion in more olive oil until it is golden, soft and sweet.  Add the cooked or canned chickpeas (or lentils, if using), roasted vegetables and coat well. 
  5. Cover with the stock, bring to boil, then simmer until all ingredients are tender and infused with the flavours. Add more stock if necessary.
  6.  Blend well, add a twist of lemon if you wish and then eat.   This tastes good with a spoonful of creme fraiche, sour cream or natural yoghurt if you have some in the fridge.
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