Moroccan Carrot and Chickpea Soup
I recently bought some chickpeas. And a whole bag of carrots. Fascinating, I know, but I felt it prudent to share this information - you'll see why below...
On Sunday it was raining and rather chilly. Naturally, all these factors meant that I had to make soup. Naturally. I had all those carrots and chickpeas, remember?
Moroccan-inspired spices were practically screaming out to me from my spice draw. I obliged. Naturally.
As a result, this soup is spiked with a little cumin and freshly ground corainder seeds. Saffron was voicing itself rather strongly also, so I invited it to lend it's lovely flavour to the dish. Who doesn't like a fragrant, spiced soup?...
Although the real flavour punch comes from the pureed roasted carrot and garlic, which creates a thick, sweet, richness that is rather delightful. The fresh silverbeet added right at the end freshens everything up nicely. And the bite from the lemon zest is very welcome.
I served this soup with thickly sliced, fresh rye sourdough. A hearty, quite delicious dish that was very warming in this ghostly cold Melbourne weather.
Moroccan Carrot and Chickpea Soup
Inspired by this Olivia Andrews recipe (link here).
1/2 cup dried Chickpeas, soaked overnight (or 1 cup canned Chickpeas)
4 large Carrots
3 large cloves Garlic, skin on
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Freshly Cracked Pepper
1 Brown Onion
2 Celery Stalks
1 teaspoon Coriander Seeds
1/4 teaspoon Saffron
1 tablespoon Hot Water
3 teaspoons Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Chilli Powder
4 cups Water
3 cups Chicken Stock
3 large Silverbeet Leaves, washed
2 teaspoons Lemon Zest (or more if you're like me and love your zest)
Delicious Bread to serve (we also ate our soup and bread with a side of Olives, yum!)
*Option: top your bowl with 1/2 tablespoon Toasted Almond Flakes per person - I will definitely do this next time for some yummy crunch
1. Preheat your oven to 200 Degrees Celsius.
2. Chop the carrots up into 6cm long sections, then cut these sections in half and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Give the carrots a quick drizzle with olive oil and lightly season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper. Pop into the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
3. While the carrots are baking, dice the onion and celery. Then grind the coriander seeds in a mortar and pestle.
4. After 10 minutes, add the garlic cloves to the baking tray of carrots and give them a quick drizzle with olive oil. Bake for a further 15 minutes (once cooked, turn the oven off and let them sit - I left mine in the oven until I needed them).
5. Whilst the carrots and garlic are baking, place the saffron and hot water in a small cup. Allow to sit for five minutes.
6. Heat 2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil in a large heavy-based pot over low-medium heat. When hot, add the onion and cook for a minute before adding the celery and cooking for a further few minutes (turn down the heat if it gets too hot and starts to stick to the bottom).
7. Once the onion and celery are soft, add the cumin, ground coriander seeds, chilli powder and saffron (plus the liquid), and cook for a couple of minutes.
8. If using dried chickpeas (soaked overnight), give them a quick rinse under cold water.
9. Add 3 cups of the 4 cups of water, all 3 cups of the stock and your overnight-soaked chickpeas to the pot (if using canned chickpeas, don't add them now) and bring to the boil. Turn down to a gentle simmer and cook for 45 minutes.
10. While the soup is cooking, place the carrots in a hand blender. Peel the garlic cloves and add them too, along with 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil. Whiz in the blender until fairly smooth, adding more oil if you need to.
11. After the soup has simmered for 45 minutes, add the carrot mixture to the pot and give a good stir to incorporate. Add the last cup of water to the pot and turn the heat up until bubbling again. If using canned chickpeas, add them at this point. Turn the heat down to a gentle simmer and cook for a final 10 minutes.
12. Dice up the silverbeet (just a rough, chunky dice) and during the last minute of cooking, add it to the pot and allow to wilt.
13. Dish up your soup into bowls and top with lemon zest (and toasted almonds, if you so desire). Serve with fresh or toasted bread (and olives!)