With cooler temperatures finally gracing Dubai’s weather forecasts, it almost feels like a North American autumn – ok, more like a North American spring. There are no falling leaves and the air isn’t crisp, but the change of season in Dubai come November means we can spend days on the beach, have picnics in the park, and enjoy countless outdoor activities that are next to impossible during the summer.
Still, I miss my Montreal days when the city transitioned from a t-shirt-clad concrete jungle into one where heavy jackets and winter boots ruled the snow-covered streets. Comfort food was king in my kitchen during these colder months – and I always made sure to keep my freezer armed and ready with soups and stews whenever I needed a soul-satisfying meal.
For me, pumpkin and winter squash are the very definition of cool weather foods, and this butternut, carrot, and ginger soup is one that I’ve been making for years. It really highlights the natural richness of vibrant-fleshed vegetables. The ginger adds a little bit of heat, while carrots and onions add sweetness and depth. It is so incredibly simple, there are only five ingredients required to make it. Double the batch and freeze half in individual containers for impromptu lunches and dinners.
I typically use chicken stock as the base for this soup, but you can easily substitute with a good vegetable stock, or even water. As the salt content varies depending on the type of stock you are using (commercial or homemade), you’ll have to give it a couple of good tastes at the blending stage to make sure you season it well. Make sure to cut the carrots into smaller pieces than the squash as they take longer to cook. Feel free to swap the butternut for other varieties of squash or pumpkin – the taste and texture will change slightly.
Pumpkin, carrot and ginger soup
- 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 ½ tablespoons freshly grated ginger
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed and cut into 2 inch cubes (about 600 grams)
- 3 to 4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1 cm dice (about 300 grams)
- 1 ½ liters chicken stock, vegetable stock or water
- 1 teaspoon salt (quantity will vary depending on the saltiness of your stock)
- Fresh black pepper
- Plain yogurt as a garnish (optional)
Heat the butter and olive oil in a large pot. Add the onion and sprinkle with a tiny bit of salt to prevent them from burning. Sauté until soft, about 6 minutes. Add the ginger and sauté for an additional two minutes or until fragrant.
Add the butternut squash, carrots, and stir to combine with the onions.
Add stock or water. Make sure the liquid is just enough to cover all the vegetables. If using only water, you will need to add a teaspoon of salt at this stage.
Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce the heat to medium low, and let simmer until all the vegetables are soft.
Remove the pot from heat. Either with a hand blender, food processor, or standing blender, blend the soup until completely puréed. It is really worth it to be patient here so you end up with a silky, lump-free textured soup. Taste, add more salt if necessary.
*Be careful during the puréeing stage, the soup is hot, and if you’re using a blender or food processor, the heat can cause it to seep out of the top of the lid.
Divide the soup among serving bowls and add a spoonful of plain natural yogurt and some freshly ground pepper if desired.