I’ve had a little tub of saffron sitting on my spice shelf for far too long. As all the other spices disappear and get replaced, the saffron has the been the proverbial cheese from “The Farmer in the Dell.” It stands alone. 😦 So today I decided that saffron was done standing alone, and came up with this tasty soup. It’s light, but filling, and doesn’t take much fanciness aside from the saffron and some caraway seeds, which I suppose aren’t fancy, but I never used to keep them in my kitchen until recently, so they’re kind of fancy.
Anyway, this soup is very easy, relatively quick, and waaaay delicious with the light flavors of saffron, mint, caraway, and cilantro and a nice tang from some fresh-squeezed lemon juice. Really it’s about spices here, so make sure not to skimp, and add everything if you’ve got it.
Here’s what you need:
2 Tbsp cilantro (I used dried, but feel free to use fresh if you’ve got it)
1.5 Tbsp caraway seed
2 Tbsp chopped mint
2 Tsp saffron threads
pinch of chili powder
pinch of paprika
1/2 tsp grains of paradise (optional, but so tasty and a really versatile spice)
6 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups cooked or canned chickpeas (if using dried beans, soak in water overnight, then cook until softened before adding)
6 cups of water
1 large yellow onion
4 regular carrots, chopped
7 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 regular or 2 small sweet potatoes, scrubbed and cubed
juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste
spinach, washed and saved until just before serving
Mint for garnish
First, add olive oil, onions and garlic to a pot along with caraway seeds and cilantro, saute-ing until golden brown and slightly softened. Then add carrots, sweet potato, and mint, cooking over medium-high heat until carrots start to soften.
Add water, beans, and all remaining spices to pot along with lemon juice. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Right before serving add spinach and serve when spinach is wilted. Serve, eat, and be happy!