Monday, March 4, 2013

Weekend + Moroccan Vegetable Soup

First, thank you to everyone who sent messages and kind words regarding my last post. It is truly appreciated. Graham and I are doing well, attempting to focus on all the wonderful parts of our life (there are many!), while trying to make peace with those things that are out of our control. 

Anyway, how was your weekend? We went all out celebrating a friend's birthday on Friday night, which made for a lazy Saturday, catching up on television shows and indulging in quality couch time with the pups. The weather was gross almost the whole weekend, so we didn't feel that guilty. Sometimes you need a weekend that makes you relax.

On Sunday, we snuck in a walk on the beach and an afternoon coffee date while the sun made a brief appearance. Back at the casa, Graham typed a paper (he's working on another master's program!) while I made this simple Moroccan soup for dinner.

I learned the recipe in Marrakech at a cooking class through Ateliers d'ailleurs that was recommended and set up by the owners of the lovely Riad Le Clos des Arts. The day started with a trip through the markets with a local woman and a guide, who also served as our translator. After gathering the ingredients, we went back to the woman's family home to learn how to make several dishes. When the meal was complete, we all sat down together to enjoy. It was the perfect way to learn about not only the food that is typical to Marrakech, but the culture, language, and private family life that you would not normally see. An amazing experience and something I would encourage anyone visiting Marrakech to do.

This soup transported us back to Marrakech, one of our favorite adventures so far...

Here's the recipe, perfect if you're looking for an easy (and inexpensive!) way to experience a little bit of exotic Morocco:

Moroccan Vegetable Soup


-1 medium butternut squash (the recipe calls for pumpkin, but this was the closest thing available)
-1 zucchini (calls for tapines, a type of light-colored squash, but you could use a yellow squash or whatever)
-1/2 yellow onion
-3 carrots
-4 turnips
-olive oil
-1 teaspoon ground ginger
-1 teaspoon turmeric 
-large pinch of saffron
-salt, to taste (I started with 3 large pinches and added 2 more when blending)
-pepper, to taste


-peel and roughly chop into approxiamately 1" pieces the squash, carrots, turnips, and onion
-chop zucchini (no need to peel) into slightly larger chunks, since it cooks faster
-put all vegetables in a large pot
-drizzle heavily with olive oil
-add spices
-fill with enough water to cover vegetables, stir to mix
-bring to a boil, cook covered on medium heat until all veggies are fork tender
-blend using food processor (a stand blender or immersion blender would also work) until smooth
-this is the time to add more salt, if needed, or adjust the other spices
-serve immediately or return to pot to keep warm

Don't be shy with the olive oil. Haven't you heard...? It's good for you! 

I wanted my soup to be thick, since I wasn't adding any vermicelli noodles after blending (which the original recipe did have). If you want it to be a little thinner, add more water before cooking. If you want it to be a little naughtier, add heavy cream before blending.

My new food processor, which was made possible thanks to Christmas gift cards and cash from Graham's parents and brother. Gracias! And here's a fun fact - in Spanish the translation is "robot de cocina" which literally means "kitchen robot". 

 This made the perfect dinner along with salad, and wine, of course. This version is a bit thicker and heartier than the original, which makes it filling enough for a main dish. The ginger and saffron bring a lighter, more complex flavor than most squash soups. It's also a great way to get a big serving of different vegetables with a Moroccan twist. And it's another perfect meatless Monday dish!

¡Buen provecho!

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