I have been making this absolutely delightful soup for the last 10 years or so, it is one of my favorites. This is a super healthy soup, packed with lots of nutrition, one that can serve as a light dinner.
The origins of this soup are from the gypsy community in Hungary and in true form the flavor is from paprika and saffron, two flavors that amazingly go so well together. The light tomato broth is beautifully scented and the scent penetrates the vegetables. Each bite is a flash of flavor. The chunky soup is quite heavy because of the vegetables, but with a slice of great bread, is a wonderful light supper. Yes the list of ingredients does seem daunting, but it is mainly chopping work and little else. The wonderful soup makes it all worthwhile.
It is one of my first cookbooks I purchased, and one that I use quite a bit to make wonderful soups from. Every page has been stained and every recipe has been amazing, this book taught me to love soups, not ordinary soups, but soups with flavor. The collection of recipes go beyond the ordinary and the chef opens up a world of amazing soups in this cookbook. This is an older cookbook, but still a classic and one that I recommend for anyone who wants to make excellent soups.
For more recipes for this amazing cookbook, click here.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
1 yellow bell pepper, finely diced
2 small ribs celery, finely diced
1 teaspoon ginger paste
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
1 generous pinch saffron
1 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
1/2-1 teaspoon hot Hungarian paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder, or to taste
8 cups water or ready chicken or vegetable stock
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced into small bite-sized pieces
2 potatoes, peeled and diced into small bite-sized pieces
1 heaped teaspoon dried basil
1 heaped teaspoon dried parsley, or fresh
3-4 small tomatoes, finely diced
2 bunches spinach, or any other neutral greens, well washed and finely chopped
2 teaspoons honey
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Salt, to taste
1 cup dried chick peas, soaked in 6 cups of water overnight
Water, 1 bay leaf
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
or 1 can chickpeas
Basil, to garnish
To cook the chickpeas, rinse out the soaking liquid. Add 5 cups water, the bay leaf, garlic, and salt and bring to a boil. Scoop out the scum that rises to the top and simmer genty till the beans are cooked, but not mushy. You want the beans to still have a bite and some texture. Drain and set aside. Discard the bay leaf.
In a large stock pot add the oil and heat on a medium low flame. Add the onions and a pinch of salt and sauté till the onions are translucent but have not taken on any color. Add the peppers and celery and continue to sauté till the peppers are soft and cooked through. You do not want the peppers to get too mushy as they will fall apart in the soup.
Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 2 minutes till the garlic is cooked and no longer smell raw. Add the bay leaf, saffron, paprikas, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper and chili powder and toss the mix well to coat the vegetables. Stir fry for 1 minute to release the aroma from the spices.
Add the water/stock and bring to a boil. Add the sweet potatoes, potatoes, basil, parsley, tomatoes and salt and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the cooked chickpeas and the greens and cook for an additional 5-7 minutes till the potatoes are cooked through but still retain their form. Add the honey and soy sauce and mix in well. Taste and adjust salt, spices and herbs. You are looking for a bright soup that is packed with flavor.
This soup tends to loose its liquids as it sits. Add water to bring the soup to the consistency you want and so there is lots of flavorful broth in the bowl. Heat well and serve sprinkled with the fresh basil.