Watercress and Chick Pea Soup

The title of this post should actually read “Watercress and Chick Pea Soup with Rose Water and Ras El Hanout”.  It’s another example of the talented Yotam Ottolenghi’s ability to combine flavors and textures to produce the most delicious outcomes.  The soup is a combination of aromatics, stock, watercress, and spinach, combined with chick peas.  The garnish is roasted, diced carrots and more chickpeas, coated with ras el hanout, a blend of hot and sweet spices.  The soup is seasoned with a little rose water, which provides a touch of contrast with the sharp cress and earthy spinach.  The smooth textured soup is topped with the spicy roasted carrots and chick peas for little nuggets of crunch and flavor.  It’s quick to make and very delicious to eat.  If you’re nervous about adding rosewater to a savory dish, don’t be.  It’s subtle and perfectly harmonious with the other flavors of the dish.  Easy, healthy, and unique; this is another ” Jerusalem” recipe to celebrate.

Watercress and Chickpea Soup with Rose Water and Ras El Hanout
(serves 4)
2 medium carrots (9 ounces/250 grams), cut into 3/4 inch dice
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 1/2 teaspoons ras el hanout
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (only if there is no cinnamon in your ras el hanout)
1 1/2 cups/240 grams cooked chickpeas, fresh or canned
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 1/2 tablespoons peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger
2 1/2 cups/600 ml. vegetable stock
7 ounces/200 grams watercress
3 1/2 /100 grams spinach leaves
2 teaspoons superfine sugar
1 teaspoon rose water
salt
Greek yogurt, to serve (optional)
Preheat the oven to 425F.  Mix the carrots with 1 tablespoon olive oil, the ras el hanout, and a generous pinch of salt and spread flat in a roasting pan lined with parchment paper.  Place in the oven for 15 minutes, then add half the chickpeas, stir well, and cook for another 5-10 minutes, until the carrot softens but still has a bite.  Meanwhile, place the onion and ginger in a large saucepan.  Saute with the remaining olive oil for about 10 minutes over medium heat, until the onion is completely soft and golden.  Add the remaining chickpeas, stock, watercress, spinach, sugar, and 3/4 teaspoon salt, stir well, and bring to a boil.  Cook for a minute for two, just until the leaves wilt.  using a food processor or blender, blitz the soup until smooth.  Add the rose water, stir, taste, and add more salt or rose water if you like.  Set aside until the carrot and chickpeas are ready, then reheat to serve.  Divide the soup among four bowls and top with the hot carrot and chickpeas and, if you like, about 2 teaspoons yogurt per portion.
(from “Jerusalem, A Cookbook” by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi)

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