Monday, January 30, 2012

Middle Eastern-style Kale Soup

Generally speaking, I like to have soup for lunch every day.  My rules are this: 1. It must always start with a rich broth made from the bones of an animal (NO exceptions!)  2.  It must have a whole grain and a legume, and 3. It must have some kind of green thrown in at the last minute.  The most important rule, though, is that it must be creative and invented on the spot. 

Because of my rules, I like to have pre-cut veggies on hand, and soaked beans and grains available to me at any time.  Also because of my rules, I end up with some pretty interesting soups that I never could have planned out.

For example, today's soup came from the simple addition of Tahini as a thickener.  I decided on this thickener because I heard it can be anti-fungal, and I am on a quest to get rid of this particular hand fungus.  I believe I got it while working in a laboratory over a year ago and have been on a low/no-sugar diet ever since the beginning of the year.  It's been improving, though I am always looking for some way to bolster my anti-fungus regimen. 

But, as with my soup cooking, I digress.  I will leave more details of that story for later.  So I was on an anti-fungal quest with my tahini, and once I put it in, I realized where in the world I was going with this.  The smell of sesame seeds and beans begged for some cumin and turmeric.  I finished it off with some ginger and, of course, the obligatory greens.  The result was spicy and peppery; a dense soup that offered tartness and earthiness.  A resounding success!

Here is my soup for today:

2 cups broth (I used turkey)
2 T dry rice
2 T dried split peas
1 T tahini
1 cup kale
2 T Juicer pulp from this recipe (or 1 T grated ginger)
3 shakes cumin
2 shakes turmeric
1 shake paprika
salt and pepper to taste

1 T whey (or buttermilk)
a few sprigs pickled kale
a sprinkling of pepitas and sunflower seeds

In a 2-qt saucepan, heat the broth with the rice and peas.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer until they are tender.
Add tahini and stir until thickened. 
Add juicer pulp or ginger and stir.
Shake in spices and add kale.  Remove from heat, stir, and cover a few minutes until kale is soft and buttery.
Pour in bowl and drizzle whey or buttermilk in.  Garnish with pickled kale and seeds.

Serves one very happy person.

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