Monday, 30 March 2009

Souper Sunday - late edition

Ahh - I could blame the house guests for posting this late - but that's just being petty. Besides, they really loved the soup.

I will spare you the vegan rhubarb and apple crumble that followed (just a bit too odd). Vegan desserts are definitely not my strong suit.

La Sfarrata with Rosemary oil
(adapted from Jill Dupleix, The Age Epicure)

1 onion, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons Olive Oil (Extra virgin)
1/2 cup lentils (Australian blue are great)
1/2 cup pearled barley
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
1 litre vegetable stock
Sweet Chilli sauce (optional)
1 x 400g can cannellini beans
1 x 400g can chickpeas
Salt & Pepper

Rosemary Oil* to serve

In a large heavy saucepan heat the oil and lightly cook the onion, celery and garlic.

When softened, add the lentils, barley, tomatoes and stock. Bring to the boil and simmer gently until the lentils and barley are soft (about 30 minutes). I also add a good slug of sweet chilli sauce. It takes the edge off the acidity of the tomatoes, and adds just a hint of warmth to the soup.

Meanwhile, drain and rinse the beans and chickpeas. Add to pot and simmer gently for a further 30 minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper. This soup is great fresh - but like most hearty soups - it is even better the next day.

*To make the Rosemary Oil:
Pick a decent bunch of rosemary. Carefully pick off the green leaves and place in a mortar, discarding the woody stalks. Generously drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with a good pinch of coarse salt and some freshly cracked pepper (adds both flavour and acts as grist to release the oils). Pound with the pestle for about 5 minutes. It will make a pretty unsightly concoction - and the rosemary will not break down much (unlike when making a basil pesto). It should start to smell great and the oil will start to take up the colour of the rosemary. You may need to add more oil (the leaves do soak up a lot). Let it "ruminate" for a few minutes then carefully scoop it out and place it into a fine tea strainer set above a small bowl. Let the oil drain off and using the back of a teaspoon press the leaves to get as much oil out as possible. Discard the spent leaves.

You should now have tablespoon or so of bright greenish oil with a darker sediment. It won't seem like much but it is quite strong and very pungent. The oils are very volatile and will deteriorate after a few hours - so you only need enough to drizzle on your soup (about 1 teaspoon per bowl).

To serve - ladle the soup into large bowls and drizzle with the rosemary oil (and more pepper if desired). A bit of freshly grated parmesan might also be nice - but not essential.

1 comment:

Rachael said...

Looks great. If I cooked I would definitely try making this :)
Also, I've tagged you.