Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Moroccan Pumpkin Soup with Quick Egg Bread Rolls (featuring Ras el Hanout)

A very easy dinner, complete with homemade dinner rolls in under an hour -- how great is that?

Additional comment: This soup just got better and better as the days went on. It was very good the day it was made, but several days later, it was even better.

Moroccan Pumpkin Soup (Chorbat al qara'a)
Cooking Light, January 2009

3 1/2 c butternut squash or pumpkin, peeled and cubed
2 c stock
1 3/4 c yellow onions, diced
1 c water
1 tsp Ras el Hanout (see below)
3/4 tsp coarse salt
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 c whole milk **
1 T butter
8 tsp yogurt (opt)
1/4 c cilantro, chopped (opt)

Combine first 7 ingredients in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, or until tender.

Place half of squash mixture in a blender. Remove center from blender lid and puree unti lsmooth. Pour mixture into a large bowl. Repeat with remaining squash mixture. Return pureed mixture to pan over low heat. Ad dmilk and butter to pan. Cook 3 minutes, or until thoroughly heated. Serve with yogurt and cilantro.

** Note -- I like my soup thick and hearty, so I used whipping cream instead of whole milk. You could lower the fat by using a thinner milk, but you won't get as thick of a soup. Even with whipping cream, I still found the soup a bit thin for my liking, but it could easily be adjusted with some tweaking. And, of course, it thickened a bit as a leftover.

Ras el Hanout
Cooking Light, January 2009

2 1/2 tsp coarse salt
2 tsp cumin, ground
2 tsp ginger, ground
2 tsp pepper
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon *
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp ground red pepper *
1 tsp allspice, ground
1 tsp saffron threads, crushed **
1/2 tsp cloves, ground
1/4 tsp nutmeg, ground

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 month.

* Note -- to be completely honest, I would adjust these seasonings in some pretty dramatic ways. I don't know how traditional this recipe is, but, I would lessen the cinnamon quantity, and increase the ground red pepper. As it stands, it's heavy on the sweet, but weak on the spicy depth.

** Also -- and I think this is important -- I went ahead and followed the instructions on the saffron. To be honest, I couldn't taste it at all. Likely because the recipe didn't ask for the saffron to be infused in any meaningful way, in order to bring out the flavor. In the interest of saving money, I might recommend omitting. Or, maybe I'll do some more research on traditional ways of making this spice blend.

Quick Egg Bread Rolls
Bon Appetit, October 1986

3 - 3 1/2 c flour
2 T sugar
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 c warm water (about 110 degrees)
2 T vegetable oil
2 tsp sesame seeds

Grease 9" round cake pan.

Combine 3 c flour, sugar, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Mix well. Separate 1 egg; set white aside. Add yolk and remaining egg, hot water and oil to dry ingredients. Mix vigorously with wooden spoon until smooth. Turn dough out and knead until smooth and elastic. Cover with mixing bowl and let rest 5 minutes.

Divide dough into 16 pieces. Arrange pieces in prepared pan. Beat reserved egg white until foamy. Brush over rolls and sprinkle with seeds. Here, I used both white and dark sesame seeds as well as coarse salt.

Cover with towel and let rise until doubled, about 25 minutes (mine took about twice that long, and they still weren't completely doubled in size).

Preheat oven to 350. Bake until rolls are deep golden and sound hollow when tapped, about 20 minutes.

Remember -- when you're making a quick-rise bread like these rolls, your end product is going to be heavier than a roll made from dough that has gone through a long rising process. For soup or other dishes with heavy sauces, this works well. But it may not be what you want to accompany a light salad.

1 comment:

Miranda said...

What a great roll recipe - and the end result looks so professional! Instant hit in my house, thank you