Spicy Cauliflower and Carrot Soup with Pumpkin Seed Dukkah
When I lived in Paris, one of my favorite dishes in the entire city was a head of cauliflower. Yes, a head of cauliflower. At Miznon, they would roast heads of cauliflower and serve them to you fresh out of the oven, warm and dripping with olive oil. They were roasted perfectly, crispy on the outside, and when you bit in, the inside immediately melted in your mouth.
I always think of that dish when I have a head of cauliflower in my kitchen, and it’s one that I have recreated (although never to the same perfection) many times.
Sometimes however, you have to veer off and make a new recipe.
Some might say that autumn calls for soups, but soups have never been my automatic reflex in the kitchen. While others are clamoring “it’s soup season!” my brain does more of an “oh yeah, I could make soup I guess.”
Which is how I came to this recipe.
This soup is made to have a little spicy kick to it but it also brings some color to the autumn table. To give it some additional flavor I made a dukkah to sprinkle (generously) on top. This Egyptian spice blend is a combination of freshly roasted nuts, seeds and spices that are all ground together, and it’s great on a variety of foods.
Traditionally dukkah involves sesame seeds, and you’ll see that this recipe doesn’t. Let’s be honest: it’s because I don’t usually keep sesame seeds on hand in the kitchen. I do however usually have raw pepitas, or pumpkin seeds, and I think that they bring a great flavor to this condiment. You can use it on this soup, sprinkle it on a salad, or mix with olive oil to dip bread in. It’s also great on top of a poached egg for breakfast.
Pumpkin Seed Dukkah
1 cup (4.5 ounces, 130 grams) raw pepitas/pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup (2.5 ounces, 70 grams) almonds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
In a dry frying pan, toast the pumpkin seeds and almonds until they have taken on some color. Place them with the rest of the ingredients in a food processor or spice grinder. Pulse until everything is finely ground. Store in an airtight container.
Spicy Cauliflower and Carrot Soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely sliced
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1 head cauliflower, chopped
2 to 3 large carrots, chopped
3 cups (720 milliliters) water
In a large pot, heat the olive oil on medium heat, then add the garlic and onions and sautée until the onions are translucent. Add in the spices and stir together.
Add the chopped carrots and cauliflower and stir together until evenly coated with the spices. Add the water, increase to high heat and cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the carrots and cauliflower have softened, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove from the heat, and either using an immersion blender, or carefully pouring the soup into a blender, puree until smooth.
Spoon into bowls and top with the pumpkin seed dukkah.
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