Thursday, 19 November 2015

Spiced and Nice!

Crema Piccante di Zucca Hokkaido e Peperoni con Ceci al Sumac
Spicy Cream of Hokkaido Pumpkin & Peppers with Sumac Chickpeas

Richer than a soup, lighter than a stew and tasty as can be! That's what this simple supper was- all that and more!

The most important thing of course was the flavor, which was rich and satisfying... and different! With ras el Hanout to flavor the blended pumpkin and peppers and Sumac to pep-up the chickpeas, this was a perfect, spicy treat, whipped up in just 20 minutes or so- and eaten much, much faster than that! Haha!

It doesn't take much to make a wonderful meal for two- a can of chickpeas, chunk of pumpkin, a few other simple, basic ingredients and a touch of spice to liven things up- it was so easy!

And you can easily use different spices or combinations thereof and still use the same method... just as I did this evening- you simply make the most of what you've got!

See how teensy-tiny my little half of Hokkaido pumpkin was, compared to the size of the chickpeas? Yep- basically just a couple of handfuls of diced pumpkin. Other than that and the can of chickpeas, I needed 1/2 of an onion, 1/2 a stalk of celery, 2 small red peppers, 1 small green pepper, a little fresh parsley, sage and ginger, salt, pepper, olive oil and my 2 tasty spices- Ras el Hanout and Sumac.

The result was rich and spicy, but not hot and aggressive... but a little chili or tabasco will easily see to that, if that is something you prefer...

But this recipe was more about combining the sweet, spicy, creamy pumpkin with tangy Sumac-coated chickpeas with a hint of crunch from the green pepper... which I have to say worked wonderfully together!

For the cream of pumpkin, I simply put 2 handfuls of diced pumpkin (I love that Hokkaido doesn't need to be peeled!), 172 an onion, the 2 peppers, 3 leaves of sage, about 2" of finely chopped ginger, 1/2 stalk of celery and a little salt and pepper, into a small saucepan and got them sizzling away in a little olive oil.

After around 5 minutes of cooking together, I added 1 tablespoon of Ras el Hanout and just enough boiling water to almost cover the vegetables. Almost- but not quite! I reduced the heat to a gentle simmer and let it cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.

In the meantime, I removed the seeds from the green pepper and diced it very finely, I also finely chopped a couple of leaves of sage and added them, along with a teaspoon of Sumac, a good pinch of salt and some freshly ground black pepper. 

I fried and tossed the chickpeas and peppers in a little olive oil, for around 5-6 minutes in all- they are of course already pre-cooked when they go into the can, so basically, all we need to actually cook is the green pepper- the rest warms-through and infuses with flavor.

Once the pumpkin is cooked, either use an immersion mixer or a blender, to whizz your peppers, ginger, pumpkin and spice into a smooth purée. 

Spoon up some of the purèe first and then serve the chickpeas on top, with a generous sprinkle of freshly chopped parsley and a last sprinkle of extra Sumac- and thoroughly enjoy!

Yes, it is nice to cook the 2 distinctive flavors separately, so that you can appreciate each for its own- but by all means stir everything together to get the combination of flavors and textures!

Rich, warming, simple but spicy goodness on a plate! Made for sharing!

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