It’s amazing what a little inspiration and a day off will give you.
I recently attended the Kosher Food Bloggers Conference 2015 #KFBCON15 which had many amazing speakers on their panel – but one really stood out – Renee Muller of Renee Muller Styling.
I have always had an interest in food styling and hearing her speak, and learning her tips and tricks really ignited the flame in me again! The pictures taken here are more thought out than my usual photos and although I still need practice – they are much better than previous photos where I don’t have the luxury of natural daylight and I just snap them quickly before we eat for dinner.
Lately, my mom has been sharing photos of anything she came up with, and this week, it was this butternut squash and chick pea soup. My mom has always been a great cook, but never really had much of an interest in talking about it. She said she was impressed with the taste (although she has always been good with flavor) and when reading the list of ingredients to me, she mentioned hawaij spice.
Hawaij is a spice mix widely used by Yemenite Jews in Israel. There are different types of mixes – but since I could not find it already made, I decided to look it up and add the same spices to the soup. It has a mix of turmeric, cumin, cardamom, and coriander.
I made the soup with my own adaptation and added a nice garnish that was full of textures, color and flavor.
Yemenite Spice Butternut & Chickpea Soup
- 1 package of frozen sliced onions and peppers (or fresh, I used this shortcut)
- Olive oil for roasting & sauteing (eyeball this)
- 1/2 tbsp minced garlic
- 1/4 tsp sweet paprika
- 1/8 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/2 tsp crushed coriander seeds. (I put them in a Ziploc bag and crushed them with the back of a heavy pan)
- 1 to 1 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 whole butternut squash, medium rough dice
- 1 large carrot, medium rough dice
- 1, 15.5 oz can of chick peas, rinsed
- 2.5 cups of low sodium vegetable stock
- 1 cup water
- Handful of baby spinach leaves, shredded
- Drizzle of balsamic glaze, toasted almonds, toasted coconut, cranberries, pomegranate seeds and cilantro.
- Roast the butternut squash on a sheet pan with olive oil and salt.
- Meanwhile, in a soup pot – saute the onions, peppers and garlic until translucent.
- “bloom” all the spices in the olive oil with the onion/pepper + garlic mix until fragrant.
- Add the roasted squash, carrot, chick peas, vegetable stock and water.
- Cook for 25 minutes and use a handheld blender to buzz the soup to your desired consistency. (I loved it chunky – that way you can also see what is in the soup.) Garnish soup with toppings listed above – or any of your favorites. Enjoy!