We are always involved with exciting food issues here at Oldways and the past months have been no exception, as we prepared for the introduction of our new African Heritage Diet Pyramid. If you haven’t heard about our latest pyramid, I invite you to take a look at our website. The African Heritage Diet is a way of eating based on the healthy traditional diets of people with African roots. Whether you want to follow the culinary traditions of the American South, the Caribbean, South America or Africa, you can use the African Heritage Diet Pyramid as a guide to enjoy the foods and dishes that make this way of eating so very healthy and delicious!
As you can imagine, there was extensive research and planning necessary to ensure the project was a success. One component of this research happened to be developing and testing the African Heritage recipes that are now on our website for all to enjoy. So twist my arm – I had to help!
Since it’s fall, I was happy to take home my assignment of a pumpkin soup, a traditional Afro-Caribbean dish. Apparently several varieties of pumpkin grow in the Caribbean, and the most widely used is the calabaza. I chose a regular jack-o-lantern pumpkin for my soup but also read that a butternut squash is a great substitute to keep in mind. No matter which squash suits your fancy this soup screams fall, and is a way to embrace traditional healthy heritage dishes and enjoy a belly-warming and satisfying soup!
I have made the soup a few times now. My favorite version, below, increases some of the spices for an extra kick.
2-3 tablespoons butter (or neutral ﬂavored extra virgin coconut oil)
1 large onion peeled and chopped
4 cloves garlic peeled and minced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger (or ground)
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons spicy curry powder
½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 lbs. fresh pumpkin or winter squash, peeled, seeded and cut into cubes
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 pint of low-sodium vegetable stock
½ pint fat-free evaporated milk, added at the end (to avoid curdling)
1 tablespoon of minced parsley or cilantro for garnish
Saute the onions and garlic until onions are translucent, then add ginger and other spices and cook for a minute. Add pumpkin, potatoes and carrots along with the stock, and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the vegetables are soft. Puree the soup with a stick blender. Add the milk. Garnish with a little minced parsley or cilantro. Enjoy!