To Market, To Market

Every Saturday morning Andy and I head out early to the market in La Marsa.  It never ceases to provide me with inspiration. This week we began to see in earnest the changes of the season. Gone were the peaches and nectarines, the tomatoes and potatoes are dwindling, quince only made a very brief appearance and I am kicking myself for not grabbing a kilo or two when I saw them.

I did buy this really bushy, floppy bouquet of basil for pennies.

I have a growing collection of pesto in my freezer.  Funnily enough I couldn't touch the stuff for 14 years. We were traveling in Italy while I was contending with morning sickness (which at the time I was convinced was food poisoning) and just couldn't bear to touch it again. Glad I've recovered from that!

I bought cranberry beans that are so ridiculously beautiful.

I will feature them in a cranberry bean ragout with pancetta and rosemary.

Fennel made it's first appearance. I'm roasting the bulb and topping it with a little Grana Padana and the fronds are going to be used the next time I roast a chicken or some fish.  I'm going to freeze them, I'll let you know how that turns out.

I also scooped up some carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, butternut squash, snowy heads of cauliflower, dill, mint, flat leaf parsley, a few tomatoes, and this rosy garlic.

I loved the carrots, they are so deeply orange and even red and purple in places. 

While the market had inspired me I just wasn't sure where to start.  My friend Lauren made a carrot and ginger soup a few weeks ago and I thought it might be something my family would enjoy. I decided to roast the carrots and while I was at it I might as well roast a bit of the pumpkin and a couple of sweet potatoes. After prowling around in the pantry I came up with some spices that would complement the sweetness and earthiness of the vegetables nicely and Voila!

Moroccan Spiced Autumn Soup

1 pound of fresh pumpkin, peeled and chopped into 2 inch pieces
12 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into 2 inch pieces
2 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed and left whole
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic smashed
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream or Creme Fraiche
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Harissa and Creme Fraiche for serving

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Place the pumpkin, carrots, and sweet potato on a parchment lined baking sheet evenly spread out.  You may need to roast the vegetables in batches.  Roast them for 30-45 minutes or until they are very soft and slightly caramelized.

When the vegetables have finished cooking set them aside.  In a large saucepan heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat.  Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes or until soft and beginning to brown.  Add the garlic and saute another 2 minutes. Next add the cayenne, cumin and ginger and stir until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.  Add the stock, the vegetables and reduce the heat. Simmer for 10 minutes.  

Remove the soup from the heat and *puree until very smooth. Return the soup to the saucepan and add the heavy cream.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  If the soup is too thick you can thin it with additional stock or water.

Serve with Harissa and Creme Fraiche.

* I use an immersion blender. If you are using a blender or food processor, puree the soup in batches.

1 comment:

  1. Isn't it amazing how a food window abruptly ends and another one begins? I noticed the shift this weekend, too. I'm so glad you're here to help me keep track of it all. The soup looks delicious.