Ethiopian-ish Sweet Potato-Squash Soup

November 18, 2013
0 Ratings
  • Makes about 2 1/2 quarts
Author Notes

Have you ever bought produce intending to cook it that week but instead it languished in your vegetable bin for nearly three weeks, and miraculously, it didn't go bad? Have you ever had leftover odds and ends in your refrigerator that, on their own, couldn't make a full meal? Have you ever been so unmotivated to cook dinner that you randomly cobbled things together, halfheartedly hoping for the best, and the result was surprisingly good? This is how this soup was born: a lonely sweet potato that patiently waited to be put to good use, a squash bought at the spur of a moment, a pint of doro wot sauce that had long since had the chicken and eggs nibbled out of it, and one lazy cook who would rather watch Poirot reruns than make dinner that night.
In hindsight, it was a combination that could not fail (sweet, spicy, creamy, yum), but in reality, this is usually how I cook, semi-purposefully throwing things together, half-knowing it will turn out fine (but half-praying I'm not wrong, ha!), and somehow always landing on my feet.

The first time I made this soup, I'd garnished it with some leftover sauteed mushrooms and pulled pork I had in the fridge but if I'd still had Ethiopian leftovers, I'd have thrown in spiced greens, or sauteed cabbage, spinach, or even caramelized onions. Maybe even a dollop of Greek yogurt. However, the soup can definitely stand on its own. You could even forego blending it and eat it as stewed sweet potato & squash, provided that you cut back half the liquid. —Elizabeth Rex

What You'll Need
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons oil, or nit'r qibe if you're feeling ambitious
  • 1 large sweet potato, large dice (I used Satsuma-imo)
  • 1 squash [approx. 2 lbs], large dice (I used acorn squash, but butternut or kabocha can be subbed. Acorn squash is a pain to peel anyway.)
  • 1/4 cup wine, plus 2 teaspoons honey, or substitute mead, if available
  • 1 tablespoon berbere
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (or 1 TBSP minced fresh ginger)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (or 1 TBSP fresh minced garlic)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground fenugreek
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 cups chicken stock/broth/water (plus more as needed to thin out the soup)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • lemon juice, to taste
  1. In a large pot over medium heat, caramelize the onions in your fat of choice til soft and golden. If using fresh ginger and garlic, add and saute until fragrant.
  2. Add squash, sweet potato, wine, honey, spices, and chicken stock. Bring to boil, then simmer 15-20 minutes, or until the squash and potato are soft.
  3. Puree the vegetables and liquid together. Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Eat with naan (because who has time to make injera, let alone eat it with soup), or with add-ins of your choice.

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