I came back to Beirut loaded with a half-dozen squashes from the garden and started offering them away. I was surprised to be met by polite refusals. One man asked me “well, how do you prepare this?” Another looked at it looking puzzled and said “No, thank you, we have plenty of food at home”. I was thinking, this is so funny, they think nothing of coring zucchini or stuffing grape leaves, but this looks like too much hard work! Its true, which is why in US supermarkets one will find pumpkins already peeled and cut-up. In Lebanon, supermarkets sell zucchinis already cored.
So when all else fails, and when it is stormy and bitingly cold outside, make soup.
Carrot squash soup
1/3 cup olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
1 Tbsp curry powder or 1 1/2 tsp turmeric and 1 1/2 tsp cumin
Salt and white pepper to taste
6 large carrots, peeled and sliced
1 pound squash or pumpkin pulp, peeled and cut into chunks
8 cups chicken or veggie stock
2 cups yogurt
2 sprigs of oregano or fresh zaatar (optional)
1. Heat the oil in a soup pot; add the onions and stir, about 5 minutes (covering the pot); add the sliced carrots and stir 10 minutes till onions and carrots are golden. Add the spices and pumpkin or squash and stock.
2. Simmer the soup for 30 minutes or until the veggies are tender. Purée with an immersion blender. Add the yogurt, stir to combine. Serve warm, with more yogurt on the side if desired.
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