Garlic soup with harissa

My kids and I love to have soup for dinner, but my husband is not much of a soup eater. So whenever he is not home for dinner and I ask the kids what they want to eat they sometimes ask me to make soup. Their favourite soup is a very simple courgette soup, but I’ve been wanting to try a new recipe for a while so I picked the garlic soup with harissa from Ottolenghi’s cookbook “Plenty”. When I read the recipe it just sounded like a souperb idea.

Some people think of soup as something you only eat in winter. I however can eat soup all year around, every day, for lunch, brunch or dinner, maybe even for breakfast. I just love a hot steaming bowl of soup with some crusty bread. Even on a hot summer day because hot food actually cools you down. Other reasons why I like to eat soup is that it’s easy and quick to make and easy to digest so perfect when you feel a bit under the weather. Ancient cultures have long used warm soups as home remedies for colds and flu. Eating soup is also a convenient and delicious way to make sure you eat enough vegetables and you can make it in bulk and freeze the leftovers for a busy weeknight. Warm soup does no only nourish the soul, it also helps to use up all those leftover vegetables lurking in your fridge.

This recipe uses a staggering 25 cloves of garlic, but don’t be scared. You can still show up at work the next day and have a close face-to-face conversation without blowing your colleagues away with your bad breath. The flavour that the garlic gets from frying it with the shallots is subtle and sweet and not harsh and garlicky.

I’m sure you will enjoy it and…………..may the stink be with you………….just kidding, really I’m kidding.

A soup like this makes for a hearty first course or light main dish. We had it as a main and I added some chickpeas to make it more substantial. I slurped my way through two warm bowls of soup before sitting back and patting my belly. I love it when a meal fills me up, but doesn’t leave me feeling overly stuffed. I served it with a savoury version of msemmen which I had in the freezer. If you think that’s too much work then a crusty baguette will do just fine.

Unfortunately the kids did not like this soup (you can’t win them all, right?) so I didn’t bother making the homemade harissa and added some Belazu rose harissa to my plate, but I added the directions for the homemade version in case you want to try it. The kids ended up having their favourite soup which I can whip up in 20 minutes and they also easily gobbled up two bowls.

Do you know that joke about the frog who ordered soup in a restaurant? He called for the waiter and said: Waiter, there is no fly in my soup……………

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. If you try it, please let me know! Leave a comment, telling me what you think of it. You can also tag your photo on Instagram with @culyzaar or post it on my Facebook page so I can see it. I love seeing your takes on the recipes on my blog!

Just look at that plate………..Doesn’t it look souper!!!

5 from 3 votes
Garlic soup with harissa

Source: “Plenty” – Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

Servings: 6 people
For the soup
  • 40 g butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 medium shallots, finely chopped
  • 5 celery sticks, finely diced
  • 25 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp coarse sea salt
  • 200 ml white wine or water if you don’t want to use alcohol
  • 1 generous pinch saffron strands
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 litre good-quality liquid vegetable stock
  • 400 g cooked chickpeas
  • 4 tbsp parsley, roughly chopped
  • Fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  • Greek yoghurt (optional)
For the harissa
  • 1 red pepper
  • ½ tsp each coriander seeds, cumin seeds and caraway seeds
  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 2 red chillies, seeded and chopped
  • ½ tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp coarse sea salt
For the harissa
  1. Put the pepper under a very hot grill until blackened (15-20 minutes). Transfer to a bowl, cover with cling film, leave to cool, then peel and discard the skin and seeds. Place a dry frying pan on a low heat and toast the coriander, cumin and caraway for two minutes. Transfer to a mortar and grind to a powder. Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the onion, garlic and chilies over medium heat until dark and smoky - six to eight minutes - then blitz with all the paste ingredients.
For the soup
  1. Gently fry shallots and celery until soft and translucent (about 10 minutes). Add the garlic and cook for five minutes more. Stir in ginger and thyme, add salt, pour in the water/wine and leave to bubble for a few minutes. Add the saffron, bay leaves and stock, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaves, add the parsley and blitz with a hand-held liquidizer. Do not over-process - keep some texture. Add the chickpeas and cook for another 10 minutes.
  2. Serve in shallow bowls. Swirl in some harissa, sprinkle over coriander and serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt, if you like. 

8 thoughts on “Garlic soup with harissa

  1. All the flavors in this soup sound delicious! I love a great soup too. I can eat them any time of year also. So hearty and healthy. Thanks for this recipe.

  2. My husband isn’t much of a soup eater either and I love it! Also love all the delicious flavors in this soup. It’s so so good, and he’s such a harissa fan the homemade harissa sold him on the soup!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating