This is a rich one…and considerably less spicy than most things that we have on our table. I do believe that this particular soup will be a repeat visitor to our table. It fills a somewhat special niche in the soup world; it is a creamy soup that does not involve cooking with cream. For anyone that has had the unpleasant experience of breaking and thereby rendering a cream-based soup…unpleasant (or at least very unattractive), you will probably understand the immediate appeal. Instead, this soup uses a combination of tahini and starch to lend a thick, rich texture that, while not a direct substitute for cream, gets pretty close.
This soup packs highly flavorful punch from the combination of cumin and coriander. I think that the combination of the chickpeas and potatoes softens the impact of this spice combination, allowing the distinct flavor of the saffron to shine. The flavor profile is finished off with a small dose of cayenne. The cayenne doesn’t really provide much heat, but has a sharpness that balances the dish.
This was a great lead in to a period of soup experimentation that we went through last month. This soup spree was kicked off by the arrival of our flameware dutch over from Clay Coyote Pottery. This is an amazing piece of gear. Stylish, durable, and really, really consistent in application of heat. The best part is that it can be use on flame, electric, glass, whatever. I couldn’t be more pleased with this new addition to the kitchen. It pretty much lives on our stove top and will probably be supplemented by on of their flameware tagines.
- 2 Tbs. Olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced
- ½ large red onion, ½ chopped, ½ thinly sliced
- 1½ tsp. cumin, roated and ground
- 1½ tsp corriander, roasted and ground
- 3 cups stock
- 1 medium potato, peeled and cut into small cubes
- pinch saffron
- 1½ to 2 cups cooked chickpeas
- ½ tsp. cornstarch
- ¼ cup water
- 4 Tbs. Tahini
- 5 oz. spinach
- ¼ tsp. cayenne
- In large stock pot, heat the oil and saute the onion and garlic over medium-high heat until softened. Stir in the cumin and corriander and cook until fragrant, about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the stock, the saffron, and potato. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 15 minutes. Add the chickpeas and simmer an additional 5 minutes.
- Whisk together the cornstarch, water, and tahini. Add to soup incrementally while stirring, Add spinach and cayenne. Simmer an additional several minutes to blend flavors and thicken.