Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Moroccan-Style Chickpea and Chicken Soup

While this soup is not really hot (in the chilli sense), it contains enough spices to make it seem exotically different and to add a distinctly ‘warming’ sort of element – just what is needed in this present weather!

As far as soups go, this cooks quite quickly and, with bread or alone, makes a substantial and delicious meal for four to six adults.

For 6 servings:

2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
about 400g (2 large) skinless, boneless chicken breasts

1 medium–large onion

1 large carrot

1 teaspoon each ground cumin and coriander

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder

1 cinnamon stick

2 x 400g cans diced tomatoes in juice

4 cups chicken stock

2 x 400g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 lemon, zest and juice

1/2–1 teaspoon salt

3–4 tablespoons chopped coriander

Heat the oil in a large pot or casserole dish. Add the chicken breast and cook over a high heat for 2 minutes a side until lightly browned, then remove chicken and set aside.

While the chicken cooks, peel then quarter and slice the onion and dice the carrot. Once the chicken has been browned (and removed) add them to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3–5 minutes until the onion has softened and is beginning to brown. Stir in the cumin, coriander, paprika turmeric, chilli and the cinnamon stick and cook, stirring continuously, for another minute.

Pour in the tomatoes (and their juice), stock, and chickpeas. Add the chicken breasts back to the soup, stir in the paprika, lemon zest and juice and salt to taste. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 20–25 minutes. Remove and cool the chicken breasts then shred them using two forks or clean hands.

Stir the shredded meat and most of the coriander (reserve a little for garnishing) into the soup and serve. A crusty loaf or warmed flat breads make ideal accompaniments and a teaspoon or so of sour cream and a little chopped coriander or parsley give an attractive (and tasty) finishing touch.

Photography: Lindsay Keats

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