Tunisian Turkey Soup with Roasted Butternut Squash and Tomatoes

What do you get when you combine a recently purchased tube of harissa paste with turkey broth from a leftover turkey carcass? Yep, Tunisian Turkey Soup. I’m not sure if turkey is a popular poultry in this North African country, but all of the other ingredients in this spicy soup are. I’ll just pretend that Thanksgiving isn’t just an American holiday, but a global one as well.

Tunisian Turkey Soup with Roasted Butternut Squash and Tomatoes

The amount of harissa used in this recipe doesn’t deliver very much heat, but rather a smoky flavor to the soup. If you like your food more spicy, feel free to add more harissa paste, 1/4 tsp. at a time. Don’t worry about this delicious paste sitting in your fridge. Use it anywhere you like a little heat such as in a spicy tomato sauce with pasta, a chilled cocktail sauce served with poached prawns or raw oysters, gazpacho, scrambled eggs with chorizo…you get the idea.

2 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash (about 12 oz.)

2 large beefsteak tomatoes, cored and sliced horizontally in fourths

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. coriander seeds

1 tsp. cumin seeds

1 medium onion, peeled

2 medium carrots, peeled

2 garlic cloves, pressed

8 cups turkey broth

1 tsp. harissa paste

2 Tbsp. tomato paste

1/2 tsp. salt

1 small cinnamon stick

1 cup canned garbanzo beans, rinsed

1 cup shredded cooked turkey meat


1. On a large sheet pan, toss squash and tomato slices in 1 Tbsp. olive oil and spread evenly. Roast in a 400° oven for 15 minutes, or until mixture is nicely browned on all sides.

2. While squash and tomatoes are roasting, add coriander and cumin seed to a small skillet and toast on med-high heat for a few minutes, shaking pan occasionally, until fragrant. Remove from skillet and crush with a mortar and pestle until finely ground; set aside.

3. Finely chop onion (1 cup) and carrot (1 cup) and sauté in a medium-size stock pot with 1 Tbsp. olive oil for about 7 minutes over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, add garlic, and squash-tomato mixture. Add 1 1/2 tsp. spice mixture, reserving remaining for later use, broth, both pastes, salt, and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer soup, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

4. Remove cinnamon stick and puree soup with an immersion blender or ladle soup in a standing blender or food processor, in batches, and process until pureed. Return soup to pot and add garbanzos and turkey and continue cooking over medium-low heat for another 15 minutes. Ladle soup in bowls and garnish with chopped cilantro. Season with additional salt and/or harissa to taste.


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