When the temperature has dropped down significantly what could be better than a warming bowl of aromatic and hearty homemade soup.
This soup, inspired by Middle Eastern cuisine, is a perfect pairing of the sweetness of butternut squash, nuttiness of bulgur and chickpea, and lamb meatballs, that is a key ingredient here, as they add the necessary balance. Serve the soup with a stack of warm 2-ingredient flatbreads.
The recipe is quick and easy and can be done in minutes. However, spending a little bit more time for a few extra steps you can get a true culinary masterpiece:
Step 1: Chickpea. Nothing beats home-cooked chickpeas. When you will try home-cooked chickpeas you will never want to buy supermarket cans filled with bland dead food. Indian grocery stores sell raw large chickpeas that especially delicious in soups. Prepare it upfront and use the leftover for salads, soups, hummus and falafel.
Step 2: Lamb meatballs. Lamb meatballs can make your soup cloudy. If you prefer clear soup, I will recommend cooking lamb meatballs separately from the soup. This step also helps to reduce the amount the fat in soup.
Soup of the day: Lamb meatball, butternut squash, bulgur and chickpea soup.Course: MainCuisine: Middle EasternDifficulty: Easy
This soup, inspired by Middle Eastern cuisine, is a perfect pairing of sweetness of butternut squash, nuttiness of bulgur and chickpea, and lamb meatballs, that is a key ingredient here, as they add the necessary balance.
1 cup dried chickpeas
1/2 cup chopped butternut squash
2 celery sticks, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1/2 leek (pale part), chopped
500g lamb mince
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 onion, grated
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 cup bulgur
2.5 L rich chicken stock
fresh coriander leaves to serve
- Chickpea. Soak chickpeas overnight in cold water. Next day transfer drained chickpeas to a saucepan, cover with plenty of water and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to very low and simmer for about 30 minutes until the chickpeas are soft and tender. Drain and set aside.
- Lamb meatballs. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the lamb mince, grated onion, salt, pepper and egg. Using clean hands mix well and remove air bubbles in the meat. Drop the mince to bowl a few times from about 40 cm high.
Measure 1 tablespoon of the meat mixture (I use ice-cream scoop spoon) and roll in the palm of your hands to form a meatball. Place the formed meatballs on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bring to a boil a large soup pot filled with water. If you prefer clear soup, I will recommend cooking lamb meatballs separately from the soup. This step also helps to reduce the amount the fat in soup. Drop meatballs one by one to boiling water. Cook the meatballs about 7 minutes, or until they fully cooked. Don’t overcook them otherwise they turn out too tough. Transfer meatballs to a plate and set aside.
- Soup. Preheat a large saucepan, add a tablespoon of cooking oil (I use rapeseed). Add chopped celery, carrot and leek. Cook stirring until the leek has softened. Add chopped butternut squash and cumin seeds, and saute for about 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, and then lower the heat and cover. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until butternut squash is almost ready. Season soup with salt and pepper. Add pre-cooked chickpeas and bulgur, cover and simmer for another 10 minutes. Turn the heat off. Add meatballs, cover the saucepan and let it stand for about 7 minutes.
- Divide the soup between bowls, garnish with fresh coriander leaves. Serve hot with a delicious homemade flatbread.