Saturday, October 08, 2005

Sopa (Moroccan Vegetable Soup)

It's the month of Ramadan now, which means that my husband is fasting during the day. I tried fasting before when we lived in Morocco-- I made it about two weeks before finally giving up. It's incredibly difficult. Now I just like to try preparing nice things for him to break the fast with. The most common breakfast we had back in Fes would be a big bowl of harira-- a tomato-based soup with lentils, chickpeas, meat, and spices-- with dates, lots of honey pancakes and pastries. I made a huge pot of harira last week, but after eating it for a few days my husband gets tired of it and wants something else. So today I made something his mother calls sopa, a vegetable soup that is a lot lighter than harira. (If only the humid 90 degree Florida temperatures would agree with all this soupmaking.)

His family eats sopa as a light meal at night, particularly in the winter, often with a "tortilla"-- actually a Spanish omelette with potatoes. They sometimes make it with leftover chicken and other times with no meat at all-- it really doesn't need it for the flavor. I was looking at Hajar Lahouifi's recipe for chorba, which looks very similar, but this is our version from Fes:

Moroccan Vegetable Sopa (For 2 people-- can be doubled to serve 4)
3 carrots, diced
1 large potato, diced
2 celery sticks, diced (they would use the leaves but I don't find them in supermarkets here)
1-2 large tomatoes, whole (You can use 3 smaller canned whole tomatoes if you like)
1 onion, whole
a handful of parsley, finely chopped
a handful of cilantro, finely chopped
a tiny dash of turmeric
salt and pepper to taste
1 soup spoon olive oil
Green peas, a generous handful
a small bundle of vermicelli noodles
1 beef boullion cube - I like Better than Boullion (Vegetarians could probably use a veggie cube)

Place carrots, potatoes, celery, whole tomatoes, whole onion, parsley and cilantro in a small pot or pressure cooker. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Add turmeric, salt, pepper and oil, then cover. Cook for fifteen minutes in a pressure cooker or one hour in a normal soup pot. Remove tomatoes and onion and blend in a blender or food processor, returning this to the pot. Taste and adjust seasonings, then in last few minutes of cooking time add noodles and green peas (which I don't add until the end because I use frozen ones).

1 comment:

Mia Goddess said...

ooooohhh, my friend lived in Spain for a year or so (over 10 years ago, where she met her husband-to-be, a Muslim man who was born in Syria but whose family - for political reasons - ended up in the Emirat of Saudi [sp?] and for who knows what reason he had moved to Spain and started a little ice cream shop there, which is how they met...uh, but I digress....) and she makes me those tortillas all the time when we go there for dinner. It's such a "comfort food" ~ I LOVE it.

I think I've mentioned before how I'm not much of a cook, but this soup looks fantastic and I agree that the Spanish "tortilla" would be a perfect companion for any soup or stew, actually.