Sometimes my creativity takes me out of the studio and into the kitchen. So how about we go from Mayne Island to Morocco?
A few years ago I found the most delicious Moroccan soup in one of the Moosewood Restaurant cookbooks. This Harira soup, in its many variations, is usually eaten to break the fast in the evening meal during the Muslim time of Ramadan which will begin on or close to July 20th in 2012. Just the smell of this fragrant soup being prepared has me smiling with satisfaction and delight. It is a great addition any time of the year to inspire freshness and renewal.
I have made some adaption to the recipe, of course – as any creative person might.
Terrill’s Taste of Morocco Harira Soup
1 cup chopped onions
4 cups vegetable Stock
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds or a bit of fresh fennel
1 large table-spoon finely chopped fresh ginger
A tiny pinch of cayenne
3 or 4 peeled or unpeeled and chopped carrots
2 finely chopped sticks of celery
3 or 4 medium chopped organic tomatoes
(you can leave the peal on if you like but be careful not to get too much tomato as it can overpower this delicate soup)
3 medium Yukon Gold potatoes washed peeled or unpeeled and chopped soup size
(any firm-meat potato will do as will no potato at all)
A small pinch of saffron soaked in warm water ahead of time to release its goodness
1 small (14 ounce) can of organic lentils
1 small (14 ounce) can of organic chickpeas
A good squeeze of Lemon Juice
A dash of Madeira if you have it
A bit of good black pepper and sea salt to taste (a sprinkle of cherry wood smoked rock sea salt is nice)
A nice clump of fresh cilantro chopped
(a must unless you hate it then use parsley)
Sauté the onions in large a soup pot with a bit of olive oil. Add in spices and ginger. Then add carrots and celery followed by vegetable stock and potatoes and finally the tomatoes. Simmer until potatoes are tender. Now add lentils, chickpeas and saffron. Heat through but do not over cook. The celery will tell you when it is cooked just the right amount for you. Add Madeira, lemon, sea salt and pepper very last.
Serve with fresh cilantro and lemon wedges and a smile. We had crackers too but you could have hard-boiled eggs on the side just as easily.
Please feel free to substitute many items in this recipe while keeping the spices consistent. Small amounts of meat can be added such as beef, lamb or chicken. This time I added a little cabbage and it was a nice addition. I didn’t have enough onions so I used a shallot. Tomatoes are not in season so I used canned tomatoes and so on. But always keep the cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, saffron, lemon, fresh cilantro and the tiniest pinch of cayenne.
Side note: this is one of the few soups that I make which tastes best on the day it is made. It is a large pot of soup so invite friends.
Today is my daughter Josie’s birthday and I know how much she loves soup and foods that fill her senses with their natural goodness. Happy Birthday Josie!
SPROUT: What foods fill all your senses with their natural goodness?
© 2012 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.
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Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.
From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada
Terrill Welch online Gallery at http://terrillwelchartist.com
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