1 large onion, peeled and quartered
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 medium dried red chilli
1 stick celery
4 tbs oil
1 – 2 tbs Ras el Hanout spice blend
700g pumpkin or squash, cubed
200g tinned chickpeas
200g tomato, chopped – preferably fresh but tinned will do
2 tbs chopped dates, dried apricots or prunes
1,25 ltr water
200g chard, roughly chopped
We are very grateful to award-winning food writer and author Sarah Beattie for this fabulous recipe. Sarah is an adventurous and innovative cook of vegetarian food, utilising seasonal ingredients to create recipes inspired by regional cuisines. Follow Sarah’s culinary exploits and superb imagery via her Facebook page or treat yourself to one of her fantastic cookery books!
Sarah’s tips for this soup:
You can make this soup very quickly with a food processor. If you don’t have one, grate the onion, garlic and celery, crumble the chilli and mix in the oil. You can use any sort of orange-fleshed squash: pumpkin, potimarron, butternut, kabocha etc. Often chick peas are sold in 400g tins or bottles – you can make a superfast soup the following day with the remaining 200g with 250ml hot good vegetable stock, cumin and lemon juice, whizzed together and served with lots of fresh coriander.
Put the onion, garlic, chilli, celery, oil and ras el hanout into a food processor and blitz to a paste. Scrape into a hot saucepan and cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes. Add the pumpkin and mix well. Cook over a moderate heat for 5 minutes. Roughly crush the chickpeas – you don’t want a purée, you just want to break them up a bit.
Add to the pumpkin with the tomato and dates, apricots or prunes. Stir in the water. Season well. Bring to the boil. Simmer until the pumpkin is nearly tender. Add the chard and cook five minutes longer. Check seasonings. Serve.