Winter Squash & Chickpea Soup with Sage, Harissa, and Hazelnuts

 

This soup may be the result of cooking too many Yotam Ottolenghi recipes over the years and the fact that I now love to add specialty Middle Eastern ingredients to all of my vegetable dishes. Or it came about because I needed to exercise some pseudo painterly inclinations and play with bright colors and pure aesthetics while stuck inside during a snowstorm. The actual recipe was inspired by a pureed chickpea and sage soup I found in Cuisine Nicoise: Sun-Kissed Cooking From the French Riviera by Hillary Davis (the blogger behind Marche Dimanche). I love the confluence of seemingly disparate flavors in this smoky sweet bisque. And, by the way, harissa? I can't seem to stop adding it to dishes.

What you will need

1 kabocha or butternut squash (approx. 2-3 lbs.)

1 cup dried chickpeas (or 2 cans)

1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon avocado oil (or other cooking oil)

1 red onion, chopped

4 to 5 sage leaves, rolled tightly and sliced into thin strips

1 teaspoon fresh thyme

1 garlic clove, minced

4 to 6 cups chickpea cooking liquid or vegetable stock (or water)

1 lemon, juiced

for garnish: 1/4 cup harissa, 1/2 cup whole hazelnuts, raw, 8 sage leaves

olive oil, for frying sage leaves

sea salt and black pepper

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