A FEW years ago I subscribed to delicious. magazine as a birthday gift for my husband, who loves to cook (and is very good at it, too). It’s turned out to be one of our best and reasonably priced “investments”. We always find at least two or three recipes that we have to try out within days of the new issue arriving in our mailbox.
One vegetarian recipe from the January issue that I enjoy making is tomato and bean soup with harissa and honey. I usually have most of the ingredients here at home in my pantry (a converted nuclear bomb shelter. You didn’t know that about Switzerland did you? That for decades newly built houses needed to include a bomb shelter in their basements…perfect for storing tinned goods, wine, and often fresh foods (other than in summertime)).
The harissa paste gives the soup a good little kick. It’s filling but not too heavy so it’s ideal for winter but also autumn and spring as well when you don’t need the added bulk of cream or a grain, like barley. I prefer adding spinach rather than chard, though the latter is nice as well. And other than serving bread on the side, I don’t add the garnish (I’d probably get a rap on the knucles from the recipe authors for that), but I’m including the ingredients for it here so you can decide for yourself what you prefer.
The recipe was created by Greg and Lucy Malouf and is featured in their new book New Feast – Modern Middle Eastern Vegetarian.
Here you go, let me know if you enjoy it…
Tomato and bean soup with harissa and honey
Serves 4-6, Hands-on time: 1 hour
40ml olive oil
1 leek, finely choped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1tsp ground cumin
3tsp good quality harissa
Fresh thyme sprig
400g tin cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
400g tin chopped tomatoes
750ml vegetable stock (I use a litre)
1/4tsp freshly ground pepper
1 bag of baby spinach (or 75g chard leaves, stems removed)
4 thick slices sourdough bread
1-2tbsp salted capers, well rinsed
2 hard-boiled free-range eggs, roughly chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
2tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves
1. Heat the oil in a large pan and cook the leek for 8-10 minutes on a low heat until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, cumin, harissa, honey and thyme, then cook for a few more minutes until the leeks are well coated and the spices are aromatic.
2. Add the beans, tomatoes, vegetable stock, salt and pepper, then bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer gently for 15-20 minutes.
3. If you use chard: shred the chard, add to the pan and simmer for 5-8 minutes until wilted. If you use spinach: I add the spinach as a last step and let the leaves gently wilt in the heat without stirring to avoid breaking them into bits.
4. When ready to serve, grill or toast the sourdough and put a slice in each bowl. Ladle in the soup and top each one with the capers and eggs. Drizzle with oil, garnish with coriander and serve immediately.
Tips from the authors: If you make the soup ahead of time: prepare the soup to the end of step 3 up to 3 days in advance and keep it in the fridge until ready to serve. You can replace the chard with kale, cavolo nero or spinach.
Tips from delicious.: save the chard stems, chop finely, and cook with the leek.