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Ever so often I find I need visual aids to help me plan dinner. This is when I go scouring through the fridge for inspiration. Somehow in these instances, I find seeing an array of vegetables or bottles of sauces lined up on the door of the fridge help me immensely. On this occasion I found a butternut squash. Now butternut squash soup is one of my favourites, just because it is so simple to make. It tastes rich and is quite satisfying on its own. I however needed to add meat to it, it was just one of those days I felt like eating meat. I also wanted the convenience of a one pot meal. That was the inspiration for this recipe, that and the butternut squash!

 

 

**Substitutions are provided at the end of the recipe

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 medium butternut squash –  peeled, seeded and cubed
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 stick of cinnamon – broken
  • 5 whole pepper corns
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken stock/broth
  • 1 pound ground chicken**
  • 2 Tbsp fresh corriander, finely chopped **
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 green onion (spring onion), finely chopped**
  • 1/2 tsp cumin, freshly ground
  • 1/2 tsp pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • salt to taste
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp butter, room temperature

 

METHOD:

In a large pot heat the oil on medium high heat, add the peppercorns and cinnamon. Wait for the spices to sizzle for about 10 seconds and add the onions, butternut squash and the stock. Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes, until squash is tender. Blend all the ingredients to form a smooth texture. Season with salt to taste.

In a bowl mix together the ground chicken, coriander, green chilli, green onions, lime juice, cumin power and pepper powder with salt to taste. Mix the ingredients well, and form them into meatballs about an and inch and half in diameter. You can always form them bigger and smaller to suit your taste. Once formed, drop the meatballs into the soup. Add 1 cup of water, cover and let simmer for 15 minutes.

To form the dumplings, place the flour, baking powder, salt and butter in a bowl. Combine the ingredients and add the milk. Mix just until combined to form a ball of dough. Pinch one inch sized dumplings and drop them into the soup. Cover and let simmer for 10-12 minutes. You’ll know the dumplings are ready when the swell to double their original size and float to the top.

Garnish with a sprig of fresh coriander

 

SUBSTITUTIONS AND TIPS:

- For a vegetarian option, use vegetable stock or water, and substitute the meatballs with store bought tofu balls.

- Coriander can be replaced with parsley.

- Green onions can be replaced with chives.

- Form all the dumplings prior to dropping them into the soup. This was you can be assured they will all be cooked at the same time.

- If you are in a rush and would like to serve the soup without the dumplings and meatballs, substitute 1 of the 4 cups of stock with milk (2% or skim). Whole milk makes it richer. As a garnish dollop with 1/4 teaspoon sour cream, and swirl it using a tooth pick. This also works as a fabulous appetizer.

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