Tuesday, March 11, 2008

11.03.08: Chickpea & Spinach

This soup proved to be as popular as any served at the Soup Kitchen and caused someone to remark that the soup making is peaking as the season draws to a close while some others expressed sadness that their soup supply is to be cut off at the end of next week. But let us not mourn the passing of time and rather celebrate the turn of the seasons' wheel. Let's write down a few more definitive recipes while this blog is still active. And let us also get the table tennis tournament played out before the middle of next week!

To make 30 x 250ml portions, you will need: two kilos of dried chickpeas; two 800g cans of Natco spinach puree; a jar of tahini; a whole head of garlic, at least; plus a pound, or half a kilo each of onion, carrots and celery for the mirepoix and a kilo of floury white potatoes to thicken the soup. (Alternatively, you could use gram flour as a thickener.) This soup is seasoned with jeera 'n' dana - cumin and coriander - which you can buy as powder, or grind yourself for a fuller flavour and finished with Cayenne pepper, or a squeeze of lemon juice, if you prefer.

1. Soak the chickpeas over night. Start by discarding the soak water and boiling the peas in fresh water, simmering for an hour or more.

2. Wash, peel and cut the onion, carrot and celery into a rough dice. Peel and crush the garlic. Sweat this mixture of chopped veg. over medium heat in a generous splash of oil in the bottom of the soup pot with the lid on, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.

3. Season the cooking mirepoix with ground cumin and coriander, two desserts spoons full of each. Make up two litres of Marigold bouillon and add a splash or two to the soup pot to stop the seasoned mirepoix from sticking.

4. Peel and roughly chop the potatoes and add them to the pot with the rest of the two litres of bouillon. Turn up the heat and bring the soup to the boil.

5. Prepare a further two litres of Marigold bouillon before adding two thirds of the chickpeas to the soup pot and then pour it over and continue to cook. If the peas left in the pot, which will be added to the soup later, are soft, take them off the heat. Otherwise, continue to cook them until soft.

6. Simmer the soup for fifteen minutes, then turn the heat off and leave it to stand for ten minutes before blending. Blend to a smooth consistency.

7. Return the blended soup to the heat and add the cans of spinach puree and the rest of the chickpeas with a further two litres of Marigold bouillon.

8. Stir in tahini to finish the soup. I used a full 450ml jar, but you can vary the quantity according to taste.

9. Serve garnished with a sprinkle of Cayenne or a squeeze of lemon juice to cut the flavour of the chickpeas and tahini with something a bit sharp. Enjoy!

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