Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Spice Like Us!

"Chorba" Piccante di Peperone Rosso & Fagioie Bianchi
Spicy Red Pepper & Butter Bean Chorba


"Another soup!?!?!", you cry... "Why, yes indeedy!", I reply!

There are not many meals that are safer bets on the cold, dark evenings, are there? You know you have a bowl of warming and comforting goodness in a soup, you can rely on it to make you better no matter what... can you tell how much I love my soups?

I especially love them when they are quick and easy to make, when I can whip them up out of basic, everyday ingredients... and when they are a little bit different from the same old thing... and I am pretty sure you will like the sound of that too!


I love the "chorba" spice mix I picked up from a local Ethnic market- "chorba" simply being the word for "soup" in most regions and indeed countries in the Orient. So there may be many different blends of spices- just as there are many blends of "curry" in India and Asia- but whatever the blend- spices are good!

This was a mixture of turmeric, ginger, coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, aniseed, garlic and cumin... doesn't that just sound divine? And of course, it would be even better to grind your own... but hey! It was Wednesday evening after work and I have this stuff already, ok? Haha!


As well as having the spices, I also had 1 red bell pepper, 1 carrot, 1 onion, 1 stalk of celery, 1 bay leaf, 1 chili pepper, 1 can of butter beans and some fresh parsley... which was all that I needed to make an awesome 2 bowls of soup!


What's not to love about being able to make something as delicious and exotic and delicious as this in just 30 minutes? Especially when it really WAS ultra easy! Just take a look and see!


So yes, of course I had to wash, peel, clean and dice my veggies- but that kind-of goes without saying when you want to prepare a soup, right? And obviously... that chili needs to be freed of any seeds (unless you have a fire-proof tongue!) and yes of course, I did add the stems of the parsley, finely chopped too!


I put all of the vegetables into my pan at once and fried them with a little olive oil, a good pinch of salt and pepper and a half teaspoon of fennel seed... which give great flavor- and make that pepper and those beans a little lighter to digest too!


Add the bay leaf and keep on stirring until the vegetables are nicely "sweated down" and are beginning to soften up nicely.


Now add the beans, straight from the can, including the liquid, add 1 tablespoon of the chorba spice mix and half of the chopped parsley and stir together until everything is nicely blended together.


Add plenty of boiling water and then reduce the heat to a low simmer and let it bubble away without you stirring it for 10 minutes. Those beans are already soft and tender and you do not want to turn them to mush! What will happen is that the soup will thicken up and that the flavors will become nicely absorbed and blend together whilst the pepper, carrots, celery and onion soften completely- it all happens by itself!

And after 25-30 minutes of cooking time, you will have this wonderful, rich, spicy soup to tuck-into! Again- why heat up some store-bought and synthetic tasting chemistry-set concoction when you can make your own this easy!?!


Colorful, flavorful... and wonderful!


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