Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Spiced lamb and tomato soup with couscous

I spent most part of today working on figures for my upcoming business venture and the remainder reading "a short history of everybody for the last 13,000 years" - a book by Jared Diamond. My cerebral hemispheres feel a little more worked out than usual and I am relishing this sensation, knowing I have exercised and fired a few dormant neural pathways today.

So tonight's dinner is a healthy no-brainer - soup.

I used to make this soup quite often in the past, using chicken instead of lamb. Of course, if you prefer a meatless version, you can substitute the meat with eggplant, zucchini, pumpkin or some firm tofu. If you are planning on making soup for now and some later, my advice is to cook the couscous separately as it tends to absorb all the liquid it sits in and turn into a slippery, starchy mess.

This soup is all about bold flavours so it is not so suitable for the convalescing - but extremely good for nursing a hangover. We are talking about some fierce heat from fresh red chillis and cayenne, sweet spiciness from Spanish paprika, earthy tones from fresh ginger, turmeric and cumin, finished off with fresh coriander and parsley. This soup is like a watered-down version of a Moroccan lamb tajine, less laborious to prepare but still delivers the same amount of eating pleasure. Although I had ideas of taking this soup in various directions, I think this is one of those soups where less is more.

spiced lamb and tomato soup with couscous
400g lamb mince
100g baby spinach
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
500ml stock (chicken, beef or veg)
1 medium onion, finely sliced
4 fat garlic cloves, chopped
1 knob of ginger the size of a thumb, finely chopped
1 red chilli, chopped
1tsp Spanish paprika
1/2tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp turmeric
chopped parsley, coriander or spring onions
1 cup instant couscous
1 tsp butter
1 1/4 cup boiling water
salt and pepper to taste
place couscous in a bowl with butter and add boiling water, salt and pepper
cover with clingwrap and allow couscous to steam and absorb all the liquid - set aside
saute ginger, garlic, chilli and onion in a medium sized pot with some veg oil until soft but not coloured
add lamb mince and cook until brown
add spices and cook for a minute
add chopped tomatoes and stock and bring to the boil
simmer for 15 minutes
season to taste
fluff couscous and add chopped fresh herbs through
to serve place a handful of baby spinach leaves in a bowl and pour hot soup over
garnish with couscous

No comments: