We apologize for the temporary lapse in blogging. When Barrett and I actually find ourselves in the same room (and talk is free) the time just gets away from us. We've taken photos, we've talked about potential posts, we've drunk copious amounts of wine and we have not gotten around to actually updating the site.
Barrett and the Redhead have gone to the land of Rijstafel and so I can load the dishwasher, clean, download photos and think about putting up a post.
And so I turn to a dish that I created in anticipation of their visit. The Critic and I are omnivores. Yes, we eat vegetables. But we also eat meat. But on Sunday when I contemplated the upcoming arrival of Barrett and the Redhead (fish-eating vegetarians) I thought I could be clever with the dinner I made for myself and the other main carnivore in the family. I could make a soup which would work in BOTH worlds: vegetarian and meat-eating.
And I succeeded. In fact, I feel like this soup was substantial and tasty enough to make the meat superfluous. I added extra meat for the Critic when he called for it, but for myself next time around I'll leave it out altogether. The North African spice and the stodgy chickpeas left me feeling completely sated and able to contemplate a vegetarian existance...except for the addiction to the occasional slice of bacon or roast chicken. Oh yeah, and rare beef. But aside from that, I'd do fine. Especially with this soup.
Spicy Vegetarian Soup
1 head of fennel, chopped in bite-size pieces
1 can (about 250 g) chickpeas, or the equivalent cooked
1 can (about 125 g) sweet corn
1 small red pepper, finely sliced (mine was a fresh Cayenne pepper)
250 ml of tomato sauce or 3-4 fresh tomatoes chopped finely
1 potato, chopped
1 tsp finely chopped ginger
1/2 a head of fresh garlic, minced
1 tsp spicy paprika (or subsitute harissa - I didn't have any on hand)
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 Tbs olive oil
OPTIONAL: 6 poultry merguez
1 liter vegetable broth
Sweat the onions and the leek (sliced in thin rounds) in the olive oil. When they are soft, add the ginger and garlic. Add the paprika and fennel seeds and cook for a few minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook until the vegetables are tender. Taste for salt, pepper and spiciness. Depending on your broth, you may need more salt. Depending on your audience, you may need more spice. You might also want to add some cooked poultry merguez, cut in small pieces and cooked until done.
Serve with toasted rounds of French bread that have been rubbed with fresh garlic. And feel healthy and superior for having a low-calorie, high-taste dinner that even your vegan friends won't reject. In fact, they'll come back for seconds! (Always providing you left out the merguez, of course...)