Butternut squash are readily available in the store where we tend to purchase our groceries. So, I usually have one or two on hand in my kitchen. I love to make soup with pumpkin or squash, put them into a dessert, or even eat them by themselves roasted with some olive oil and sauteed garlic.
Today I was searching for a slightly different style of soup to make and came across this recipe from Nami Nami, which intrigued me because it’s made with almonds, a favourite of mine in baking. It has a unique texture due to the ground almonds and a very pleasant combination of flavours with the roasted almonds, cilantro and pomegranate accompaniment.
ROASTED PUMPKIN SOUP WITH DUKKAH OIL
For dukkah oil:
- A handful of raw, blanched almonds
- 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 – 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- additional olive oil
For the soup:
- 1 large butternut squash, split in half
- 2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled
- 8 fresh sage leaves, chopped
- 50g ground almonds (original recipe calls for 100g)
- olive oil
- sea salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 – 2 1/2 cups chicken stock or water
- pomegranate seeds
- fresh cilantro leaves
Preheat oven to 180C. Place the pumpkin halves, onions, garlic and sage leaves if you have them in an ovenproof dish. Drizzle olive oil over the vegetables. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the squash is tender. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Remove the flesh from the squash skin (sometimes the skin will peel off easily from the flesh, which is less work than using a spoon to scoop out the flesh).
In the meantime, for the dukkah oil:
In a saucepan, heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the raw, blanched almonds and spices. Cook until the almonds are golden brown. Be careful not to burn them. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Then place in a mortar and with the pestle ground until you have a coarse mixture. Add 1 or 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil and blend. Set aside.
When the vegetables are cool, place them in a blender. Add the ground almonds and chicken stock and puree. Pour the pumpkin puree into a saucepan, bringing to a slow simmer for about 10-15 minutes, until the soup is smooth and slightly thickened. Season to taste.
To serve, ladle the soup into the bowls. Spoon some dukkah oil on top, sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and garnish with fresh cilantro leaves.