Saturday, November 27, 2010
Sometimes being able to cook brings its own set of problems. Like when someone, your partner for instance, brings home an ingredient and asks you to make something of it.
Like a pack of dried broad beans and being asked to deal with it.
Fortunately, I'd just watched the Moroccan episode of Rick Stein's Mediterranean Escapes, where he enjoyed a bowl of soup called bessara, pretty much made from dried broad beans and not a lot else.
According to Rick, Bessara is a speciality of Chefchaouen, a city in Northwest Morocco and any place with chef in the name has got to have good food, right?
The soup looked thick, unctuous and inviting in complete contrast to the dried broad beans I'd been given, which still had the skin on, which, even after a bit of a soak were the devil to remove. Ahem, peeled next time.
Even though the main body of the soup consists of just broad beans and garlic, it's the condiments that really bring it to life, in particular, the squeeze of lemon juice right at the end. Where my adaption differs from Rick's is that I've cooked the chile and cumin into the soup, whereas he prefers to sprinkle it on at the end.
500g dried shelled & split broad beans, soaked overnight
6 to 10 cloves garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon dried chile flakes - optional
1 teaspoon ground cumin
salt & fresh ground pepper
To serve: Olive oil, paprika, lemon wedges, finely shredded coriander
Drain and rinse the broad beans and add them to a pot with 2 litres water and bring to the boil, skimming any scum that rises. Add the garlic cloves, dried chile flakes and cumin and allow to simmer away for an hour or so until the beans are starting to disintegrate. Blend the soup in batches until smooth and pass through a sieve back into the pot. Add water if the soup is too thick, but it does need to be nicely creamy. Season to taste with salt and fresh ground pepper, reheat gently.
Ladle the soup into bowls, drizzle on some olive oil, sprinkle on some paprika and shredded coriander, Serve with lemon wedges.