Chicory soup

Chicory soup

Preserved lemons are the chewy, salty, puckery gems of the Moroccan table. And while you can make your own, they’re increasingly easy to come by in many stores. They’re bright bursts in simple salads or vinaigrettes, or in a chilli relish like the one I make here to top a hearty, unfussy barley soup. You can use the chopped peel, or the entire lemon (deseeded). You’ll find assorted types of chicory (endive) in the winter and autumn; they’re related to lettuce, but more bitter and generally more structured. For this soup a blend of radicchio and escarole works nicely, but you can select just one. I also like to use a bit of the barley cooking water in place of some of the water called for here.

Serves 4 | Prep 25 mins | Cook 50 mins 
105ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving
1 medium onion, quartered and thinly sliced
225g diced celery fine-grain sea salt
1 bay leaf
3 fresh thyme sprigs
1.75 litres water
425g cooked barley
1 large dried ancho chilli
1 large clove garlic, smashed
1 small whole preserved lemon, rinsed, seeded and finely chopped
115g chicory (endive), cut into 4cm pieces crème fraîche, chopped coriander and/or chopped chives, to serve

1 - To a large pot over medium heat, add 60ml of the olive oil, the onion, celery and 2½ teaspoons of salt. Stir frequently for 5–10 minutes, until the onions and celery are soft but not browned. 
Add the bay leaf, thyme and water and let simmer for about 20 minutes, until the vegetables are very tender.

2 - Stir in the cooked barley. Continue to simmer for an additional 10–20 minutes, until the starchy barley has slightly thickened the broth. Remove and discard the bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Taste again for seasoning, adjusting if necessary.

3 - While the soup is simmering, make a lemon chilli relish. Start by removing the stem, ribs and seeds from the chilli. Chop the chilli into very small, irregular crumbles. You want bits that are not uniform, to lend a rustic quality. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the remaining
olive oil, the chilli crumbles and garlic.
Tilt the pan so that the oil pools, toasting the chilli, but taking care not to burn the garlic. After about 5 minutes the chilli should be somewhat softened and its flavour will have infused the oil. Remove the pan from the heat, smash up the garlic pieces and stir in the preserved lemon.

4 - To serve, toss the chicory with a small splash of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt. Ladle soup into
individual bowls then top with the dressed chicory. Add small spoonfuls of lemon-ancho relish, dabs of crème fraîche and lots of chopped coriander and chives.

Per serving 454 cals, fat 34g, sat fat 7g, carbs 33.5g, sugars 4g, protein 5g, salt 1.6g, fibre 2.5g

Chicory soup Reviewed by Unknown on 2/28/2020 Rating: 5
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