Chickpea, saffron and lemon chermoula soup


serves 6
50 g (1 3/4 oz) leek, cut into 1 cm (1/2 inch) cubes
100 g (3/4 oz), peeled weight, onion, cut into 1 cm (1/2 inch) cubes
50 g (1 3/4 oz) celery, cut into 1 cm (1/2 inch) cubes
85 g (3 oz), peeled weight, carrot, cut into 1 cm (1/2 inch) cubes
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tbsp) coriander seeds
115 g (4 oz) tomatoes
140 g (5 oz) canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed under cold water
1 litre (1 3/4 pints) vegetable stock
100 g (3 1/2 oz), peeled weight, potato, cut into 1 cm (1/2 inch) cubes
2 bay leaves
pinch of strands saffron
2 lemons, halved, cut sides charred for 2-5 minutes in a hot non-stick frying pan

for the chermoula

2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
1/2 red chilli, finely chopped
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp white wine vinegar
4 tbsp finely chopped fresh flat-leaved parsley
4 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander leaves


1. Put the leek, onion, celery, carrot and garlic into a large, lidded saucepan over a high heat and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes, or until softened but not coloured. (You will not need any oil.) Add the coriander seeds and cook for a further 2 minutes.

2. Add the tomatoes, chickpeas, stock, potato, bay leaves and saffron, stir well and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are mushy.

3. To make the chermoula, pound the garlic with the spices, lemon juice and vinegar to a smooth paste in a mortar with a pestle. Transfer to a saucepan, add the herbs and gently warm for 5 minutes to infuse the flavours. Do not boil.

4. Remove the bay leaves, then blend the soup using a hand-held blender, or use a food processor. Pass through a medium sieve into warmed serving bowls. Top with the chermoula and serve with the charred lemons for squeezing over.

¢â‚¬Â¢ Using the charred lemons for the seasoning gives a similar flavour to pickled lemons, which taste great but have a very high salt content.

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