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North African Squash and Apple Soup

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Nothing says winter like a warm bowl of soup. There is something so comforting about slowing warming yourself from the inside one spoonful at a time. The moment the temperatures drop, I go gaga for the heartiness of squash and how beautifully it pairs with fresh apples. I first tried a variation of this soup in North Africa and have since made it a staple in my kitchen every winter. The inspiration for this soup was a broth-like soup make from simmering squash with heavy seasoning; it was delicate but carried with it the warmth of a thousand blankets. It left me hungry for more and ignited a quest to find a recipe that included the flavors but fed me more like a meal than like a starter.

What makes this soup different from all the other roasted squash soups you may have tried is that the Honeycrisp apples add this subtle sweetness that blends so well with the buttery and nutty flavors of the squash. And when you add Shawarma West into the mix, it offers deeply earthy flavors, inspired by the western Mediterranean cuisine delivering notes of cumin and turmeric.

This is the perfect recipe for lunch with friends, or a fun canape by offering this soup in shot glasses served with a cheese straw and dusted with smoked paprika. No matter how you serve it, the end result is a boldly colored soup that warms you from within, feeding your wanderlust hunger for flavor and substance.


Roasted Honeycrisp Apple and Squash Soup



Ingredients:

  • 1 medium butternut squash and 1 medium-sized acorn squash, peeled, cored
  • 2 medium yellow onions, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, quartered
  • 2 Honeycrisp apples, peeled, cored
  • 1/4 Cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 4 Cups of vegetable stock
  • A splash of cream for garnish
  • 2 teaspoons of Shawarma West ground spice blend
  • 1 teaspoon of preserved lemon paste, or a teaspoon of fresh preserved lemon
  • Optional pinch of your favorite pepper blend heat.


Procedure:

  • Pre-heat your oven to 400F.
  • Peel, seed and cut the squash, onions, and apples into equal-sized quarters.  Then, place on a roasting pan with the garlic cloves, and the Shawarma West before then generously drizzle olive oil across the top.
  • Roast for 40 minutes, or until tender.
  • Once roasted, allow the tray to cool for 10 minutes outside of the oven before adding to a food processor with the stock. Blitz the ingredients together until smooth.
  • Then return to a saucepan, and simmer on medium heat. Add in the preserved lemon and optional pepper blend, and stir until fully blended and warmed through. Whisk in the cream, then serve immediately garnished with warm flatbread.

Note: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 days or frozen for up to 6 months. If you cannot find Honey Crisp, opt for a similar apple that offers sweet and tart flavors like a Gala apple.

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