Savory African Winter Stew!
Savory African Winter Stew is the soup recipe you’ve been waiting for. At least it’s the soup recipe I’ve been waiting for. I have been testing soups for weeks and weeks. I’m not kidding. I’ve been looking for something that is good enough to share with you all. If you’re going to take the time to make soup from scratch, wash and chop veggies, stir and add spices, it needs to be worth it. I shared my recent soup adventures with my good friend Shobha. She loves cooking and has a special knack for it so I wasn’t surprised when she knew just the thing! The original recipe, our inspiration, is called African Tomato Pumpkin Stew. This soup is a keeper. It’s a tomato based soup with a nice combination of veggies and spices. Our family loved it.
I made a couple of adjustments to the recipe when I tried this soup. I love my crockpot and figured it wouldn’t hurt to try throwing everything in and giving it a stir. Using the crockpot method cuts down on dishes and also requires less oil, hence making an even healthier soup! I did not have any pumpkin in the house, however I did have lots of butternut squash. Squash suits our families tastes more than pumpkin so I’m keeping butternut squash in the Ovenhug version. Shobha suggested grilling the okra and the onion before adding it to the crockpot and that was definitely worth the extra pan. I still managed to use only about 1 tablespoon of olive oil plus a bit of olive oil spray for the veggie grilling.
This savory African stew recipe is on the high end of the spicy spectrum. Bob, the girls, and I all loved it, complete with the cayenne red pepper. I’m pretty much in love with this soup. My only complaint is that it doesn’t make enough. I’ll be making a double batch next time. I will also try subbing in paprika for the cayenne red pepper so I can share it with my folks. Paprika will make for a milder version.
Is there anything better than a really good bowl of soup on a cold winter day?
In many parts of our country winter means snow. For us it’s rain, rain, and more rain – and we need it! For years our creek has been bone dry but the last couple of weeks we’ve had almost non-stop rain. The windy dirt grooves and valleys are now filled with strong, flowing creek!
Growing up in the midwest experiencing snowy white winter storms I never imagined I’d be fascinated by rain. I walk by the creek. I stop, I look, I ponder. This morning I parked the car and got out on the bridge for a closer look. Later, after an hour of sweaty salsa dancing in my choreo class today, our instructor invited us to dance with him in the rain. I loved it and hated it all at once. It cooled us down and soaked us through. It was exhilirating. Poet Ntshima does a more beautiful job of describing the rain.
The first two stanzas of Ntshima Ramokone poem, “Happy Rain”. What do you know? The author is from South Africa.
“Without any thunder storm
But falling drops of wisdom
Bearing its kingdom
More than freedom
Blessing earth more clearly
Keep on falling on the good seed’s brain
Without any ruin
Peacifying its genes and air,
Even though old ones are few
many are the born ones which are new…”
Savory African Winter Soup
- 2 onions, chopped
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne red pepper if you like spicy (otherwise substitute with paprika)
- 1, 10 oz bag frozen, organic butternut squash (chopped into cubes); about 2 cups chopped squash
- 2 cups vegetable broth/stock
- 2 cans organic diced tomatoes (14 ounces each)
- 1 cup fresh or frozen okra
- 1 cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- ⅛ cup chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
- Cook chopped onions in a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat (about 10 minutes), stirring often, until glazed and carmelized
- Add spices to onions as they are cooking
- Chop okra into ½ inch slices - discard stems
- Saute okra in remaining tablespoon of olive oil for 3-5 minutes until lightly browned
- Pour vegetable broth and chopped tomatoes into crockpot
- Add drained and rinsed chickpeas, cooked onions, and cooked okra
- Set crockpot timer to 3 hours on high
- Pour soup into bowls
- Garnish with chopped cilantro