Moroccan Chickpea and Lentil Soup
Over the past two weeks, eight new calves have been born. The weather has turned from rainy to nearly Summer-like and I have the strong desire to plant in the garden. It's no wonder since the increased hours of sunlight and balmy breezes have that effect on you.
But even the ubiquitous mint is still asleep. Only the tiniest of little mint leaves are starting to protrude (I went out to check yesterday). And I have been burned by thinking, “this is an early Spring, maybe I should plant early this year”--only to find frost at the end of May and replanting of vegetables a second time.
It's better to stick to the rules for one's Zone and not try to mess with Mother Nature.
Looking on the bright side—here's an exotic recipe that uses root vegetables and legumes—foods you probably have around the house right now. And, it adds some exotic spices and seasonings which you may have to run out for—but won't regret having around the house for future recipes.
The original recipe “Moroccan Chickpea Soup” comes from Mary Karlin, author of "Artisan Cheese Making at Home"—a book I recommend you adventurous cooks might want to check out.
I emphasize "Chickpea and Lentils" in my title because the green (or brown) whole lentils are just as important a legume in this soup. I also made a few taste adjustments. Feel free to modify the recipe to accommodate your preferences, too. The reason the recipe is in a book about cheese-making is because the author suggests to add a dollop of yogurt cheese when serving. This can be eliminated, however with no change in the richness of the soup.
I made my own vegetable stock by cooking 1 small potato, 3 medium carrots, 1 onion, 3 stalks of celery—all scrubbed, then chopped –cooked in 8 cups of filtered water about 30-40 minutes until the stock is golden. I then drained the vegetables to yield the stock. I did not add any other seasonings or salt because I intended to adjust seasonings in the soup itself. The cooled vegetables went to the chickens as a treat.
Homemade Vegetable Stock
Moroccan Chickpea and Lentil Soup
1 onion, chopped
2 large carrots, diced
Saute together in 3 tbsp olive oil in a Dutch Oven- cook until onions are soft, translucent.
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp cane sugar
2 (14.5 oz) cans of fire-roasted diced tomatoes and the juice
8 cups of vegetable stock
Bring this to a boil, then cut back the heat to simmer.
2 cans (15 oz) rinsed and drained chickpeas
¾ cup dried whole lentils, either brown or green
Cook at a simmer until the lentils are al dente about 25 minutes.
Add the following spices:
1 tsp dried mint leaves ( or some baby mint leaves chopped !)
1 tsp toasted cumin seeds (I toast these in a small frying pan for a few minutes)
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp tumeric
Note: you may want to prep your spices and measure in a small bowl, adding to the soup together. Here's a photo of the spices in a bowl before adding to the soup:
Cover the soup and cook for an additional 15 minutes.
Then add :
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves. Adjust seasonings and salt as desired.
At this point, you can serve it—the author suggests offering Harissa, a garlic and hot pepper seasoned sauce—OR, since I will be taking this soup to a group—I elected to add ½ tsp of dried hot chili powder directly to the whole pot of soup and that gave it just enough kick—Your choice here.
MOROCCAN CHICKPEA AND LENTIL SOUP