delicata soup with smoky chickpea and corn mofongo

This dish was born from one of those days where I had a whole lot of stuff that needed to be put to use. For those who live in Baltimore, the Gather Baltimore Blue Bag program is going strong and is a great way to stock up on veggies for the week. It also has the added benefit of giving me a weekly bout of produce-induced anxiety, as much of the contents need to be used right away or else will be no good for nobody. It keeps me on my toes and demands that I approach the fridge with creative intentions.

Habanero
Habanero

Thus, this soup. It is very filling, inexpensive, and satisfyingly creamy without being very rich. There is a bit of preparation involved, but not too much for an evening in. This didn’t last very long at my house, but I can imagine that it will keep and reheat easily if you store and reheat each component individually. The mofongo might get crumbly, but I don’t know for certain.

Sizzling plantain cakes
Sizzling plantain cakes

For the first time I have made mofongo, this was pretty tasty. It is supposed to have a higher ratio of plantain to other ingredients, but I only had two from the blue bag this week. Smoky, fried chickpeas give it some good substance and stand in for the chicharrones which are traditionally used. Any kind of winter squash can be used, I just happened to have delicata. Just use about 3-4 cups of the winter squash you have on hand. The peanut butter in the soup can be substituted with tahini or another nut butter. It gives the soup some creamy depth without making it too rich.

Tomatoes!
Tomatoes!

Delicata Soup with Smoky Chickpea and Corn Mofongo, Sauteed Collards and Habanero Mango Vinaigrette

Serves 4

Soup:
3 small Delicata squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed, about 3-4 cups
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2 corn cobs, trimmed and quartered
1/4 c coconut milk
1 tbl olive oil
1 tbl peanut butter
salt

Mofongo:
2 green plantains, peeled and chopped
1 c cooked chickpeas
2 cobs worth of corn
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced finely
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp salt
oil for frying

Collards:
1 lb collards, de-ribbed and shredded
1 1/2 tbl oil, preferably coconut
2 tsp ras el hanout (Morrocan curry powder) or curry powder of your choice
salt

Vinaigrette:
1 mango, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 habanero, seeded and minced (use half for less heat)
1/4 c apple cider vinegar
1 tbl oil
salt

Diced tomato to garnish
Salt
Pepper

TO MAKE THE SOUP:

  • Place the squash, onion, celery, garlic, and corn cobs in a sauce pan and add water to cover with 1 inch. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes while preparing the mofongo.
  • Remove the corncobs and blend with an immersion blender – or – pour contents into a conventional blender carefully and process on a low speed.
  • Add the oil, peanut butter, and coconut milk and blend to process.
  • Taste for salt and set aside.

TO MAKE THE MOFONGO:

  • Heat 1/4″ oil in a cast iron skillet over high heat.
  • When the oil is shimmering, pour in the chickpeas and fry, stirring occasionally, for 7 minutes or so, until chickpeas are a nutty brown. Remove chickpeas with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl.
  • Toss chickpeas with a pinch of salt and the smoked paprika.
  • Fry the plantains in the same oil and skillet, 3 minutes per side, until dark brown. Remove and put with reserved chickpeas.
  • Saute the corn and the chopped onion in the same oil and skillet until they start to caramelize, about 5-7 minutes. Add to the bowl with the other ingredients.
  • Put the fried ingredients in a food processor with the minced garlic. Pulse 10 times. Return to bowl, salt to taste, and let cool slightly.
  • When cool enough to handle, divide the mash into four patties. Add another tablespoon of oil to the skillet and return to high heat.
  • Gently place the patties in the hot skillet and fry, turning carefully, for 3 minutes each side. Set aside while making the collards.

TO MAKE THE COLLARDS:

  • Heat the coconut oil in a large skillet or pot over medium-high heat. When hot, sprinkle in the curry powder. Stir for 15 seconds or until very fragrant.
  • Add the collards and saute, stirring constantly, for 3-5 minutes, until the collards have halved in size.
  • Add a pinch of salt and set aside while making the vinaigrette.

TO MAKE THE VINAIGRETTE:

  • Add all ingredients to a blender, food processor, or a measuring cup for immersion blending.
  • Blend until completely smooth. Put in a squeeze bottle or small container for storage.

TO ASSEMBLE:

  • Place a mofongo patty in the center of a soup plate. Ladle 1 cup of soup around the patty. Scatter a quarter of the collards on the soup. Arrange some diced tomato on the mofongo, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle some vinaigrette over the dish and serve.
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