1. A Roasted cream of pumpkin soup ,
2. A mixed vegetable dip served with Pita bread. (which can alternatively be served as a vegetable with Indian Roti or Paratha)
The take home message from this pair of dishes is that a spice can singularly & absolutely redefine the culinary origins of a dish irrespective of the chief ingredient used. The soup is, for practical purposes, the quintessential all American offering, the key herb here being Sage which is Mediterranean in origin. (For More info about Sage, check out the Wikipedia entry http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvia_officinalis ). The dip is inspired by a humble North Indian vegetable dish called ' kaddu ki subzi' where the primary spice used is fenugreek. And there you have it, Two dishes with flavors reminiscent of 2 different parts of the world & yet, both stem from the same starting point of vegetables. A true example of fusion!
Makes for a great healthy Fall supper.
For these dishes, you need:
2 cups of pumpkin, cubed
1 head fennel bulb sliced thin
3 leeks cut lengthwise (just the white parts)
Sea Salt as per taste,
1/2 tsp coarsely crushed black peppercorn
1 Jalapeno pepper
2 portions of (one for the soup & the other for the dip)
4 tbsp Olive oil
Apart from the common ingredients listed above you need:
For the Soup:
12-15 fresh Sage leaves,
2 garlic pods crushed
1/2 cup crushed tomato
1 cup whole milk (adjust as per preference)
1 tbsp olive oil
Suggested Garnish: A handful of deep fried potato sticks with dried rosemary
For the dip:
1/2 tsp cumin seeds,
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves (Available as kasuri methi in Indian grocery stores)
1/8 tsp cayenne powder (adjust as per taste)
Salt to taste
Finely chopped Cilantro & Lime wedges for garnishing
In a large mixing bowl Combine the pumpkin, leeks & fennel with the olive oil, salt & crushed peppercorn. Marinate for about 10 minutes.
Transfer onto a baking tray & roast in an 350 F oven for ~ 20-30 minutes till the vegetables begin turning a golden brown.
On the stove top, grill the Jalapeno pepper till the skin gets charred. Allow to cool & scrub off the blackened skin using a paper towel. Cut lengthwise, remove & discard the seeds & chop roughly. Keep aside.
In a skillet, Heat 1 tbsp of oil and add the sage leaves & garlic. When they begin to soften add the crushed tomatoes & cook on medium heat till the raw smell of the tomatoes disappear.
Combine the tomatoes, chopped Jalapeno & the roast vegetables into the bowl of a a food processor.
Process till semi smooth, adding water if the mixture is too thick. Strain the mixture through a sieve, till all the puree is extracted. Reserve the vegetable residue for making the dip/subzee.
Heat the puree with desired amount of milk to make a smooth soup. Ladle into bowls. Garnish with julienned fried potatoes if desired.
For the Dip /Subzee:
Heat Oil in a skillet till smoking hot. Add the cumin & fenugreek seed. Stir till they turn a golden brown & then add the dried fenugreek leaves. Stir till combined & add the crushed tomatoes, cayenne pepper powder & salt. Cook on a medium flame till the tomatoes lose their raw smell.
Add the strained vegetable residue & cook till any residual liquid evaporates on a low flame. Garnish with chopped cilantro & serve warm with Pita bread as an appetizer. Alternatively you may serve it as a vegetable entree with Indian Roti or Paratha.
(Entering this recipe into Edible Entertainments Healthy Cooking Challenge)