Traditional Yemenite seasonings—cumin, coriander, and black pepper—give a lift to this vegetable blend. Or use hawaij, the Yemenite spice blend for soups and stews. Carrots balance the flavors of the squash, especially if yours turns out not to be very sweet. This soup is lovely as is, or dressed up with a swirl of pesto.
Yemenite Pumpkin and Carrot Soup
- Cooking and Prep: 1 h
- Serves: 8
Prepare the Soup
In a wide pot, sauté the carrots, onion, celery, and 1/4 cup parsley with a little salt in the oil over medium heat until the vegetables have softened, seven to 10 minutes. If using raw squash, add it to the pot along with the coriander, pepper, cumin, and about 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the color brightens and the squash is no longer rock-hard, about 10 minutes. If using squash puree, add it to the pot with the spices and cook, stirring often, for five minutes to develop the flavors.
While the vegetables are cooking, bring the stock to a simmer in a saucepan, then adjust the heat to maintain a bare simmer. Add four cups of the stock and the garlic cloves to the softened vegetables, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer the soup until the vegetables are very tender, 20 to 25 minutes, adding more stock as necessary to keep the soup from becoming too thick.
Remove the soup from the heat and let cool slightly, then puree using a stand blender or an immersion blender, adding the remaining stock as needed until the soup is a pleasing consistency, and adding salt to taste. Reheat to serving temperature. Ladle soup into warmed bowls and top each with finely chopped parsley and smoked salt or with the pesto.
Prepare the Parsley or Cilantro Pesto (Optional)
In a food processor fitted with an S blade, combine two garlic cloves, one teaspoon of salt, and one cup cilantro or parsley leaves. Add 1/3 to 1/2 cup of extra-virgin olive oil until the pesto is a rough pureé.
Drizzle a little on each serving of soup. Any leftover pesto is delicious over roasted or grilled lamb or fish or as a spread on bruschetta. The topping will keep, refrigerated, for three days.