Thursday, February 2, 2017

Moroccan Chickpea and Farro Soup

With healthier options in mind, I have a gamut of cooked grains and pulses in the fridge and freezer. I can easily reach in and take out a handful of puy lentils or defrost a small portion of quinoa. To know I have a meatless protein at hand, helps me imagine speedy meals. The dusting of snow outside, pushes me towards soup.

I have pressure-cooked a batch of chickpeas. So the harissa soup is an apt choice. Chickpeas are a staple in Morocco. I defrost cooked farro too. Chopped onions, carrots and celery make a sturdy base. Garlic, harissa paste, cumin, coriander and caraway adds middle eastern dimensions. The delightful cherry on top is the whipped feta cream.

Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi 
Serves 4

1 cup cooked Chickpeas 
1/2 cup cooked Farro 
2 tablespoons Olive Oil 
1 Onion
2 Celery ribs
1 large Carrot
4 Garlic cloves 
2 tablespoons store bought Harissa paste
1/2 teaspoon Cumin powder 
1/2 teaspoon Coriander powder
1/4 teaspoon Caraway seeds 
4 cups Water or Vegetable Stock
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt 
1/2 cup Cilantro 

Feta Cream
1/4 cup Feta
1/4 cup Cream 
2 tablespoons minced Cilantro
1 tablespoon minced Mint

Chop onion finely.

Cut celery and carrot into 1/4 inch thick half moons.

Peel and lightly crush garlic cloves.

Heat olive oil in a deep saucepan.

Add garlic. Let it turn a light brown.

Add chopped onions and saute for 4-5 minutes.

Drop carrots and celery into onions sand saute for a few minutes.

Add harissa paste, cumin and coriander powders, caraway seeds and salt. Saute for 30 seconds.

Add chickpeas and farro to soup. 

 Pour water or stock into onions. Stir and bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Make feta cream by whisking feta and cream till smooth. Add chopped cilantro and mint. 

Finish soup with cilantro. 

Serve soup hot, topped with a generous dollop of feta cream.

Surprising us, the soup is a stepping stone into Moroccan cuisine. This tentative plunge is thrilling. Harissa lends a spicy complex element. The feta cream is the cool balm to a fiery soup. All in all, luscious flavors inspired by Morocco and Ottolenghi.