I know. That’s quite a claim. And I haven’t tasted all the soups in the world, so there could be a better one out there…but I doubt it. Perhaps I should add the qualification that it’s the best soup in the world if you like caraway seeds. If you don’t, please look away now and come back next week.
This is a soup that my friend the Soup Ninja made for me when I was too sad to cook. It’s called Tunisian soup. I had a quick rummage around on the internet to see if the recipe belonged to anyone but I couldn’t find anything exactly like it, so I can’t credit the original cook. Also, I’ve changed it by adding potatoes and more lemon juice and a different type of onion. If you’re reading this and you created the original soup: thank you and I salute you.
The instructions aren’t precise because I made it the minute I got home from work and I was too hungry to write anything down. I also didn’t take my coat off. So the exact cooking time is however long it takes you to hang up your coat, get changed, send an email, take various pieces of paper out of your bag then do some yoga in front of the fire. This soup would serve six, I’d say. It’s gluten free and vegan. And it’s so addictive I’ll probably run all the way home from the bus stop tomorrow night in anticipation of eating another bowlful.
2 cans chickpeas
2 large potatoes, scrubbed (no need to peel them if the skin’s quite thin, but peel them if you prefer)
4 sticks of celery
half a red onion
juice of a lemon
two tablespoons of caraway seeds (yes, I did mean tablespoons)
1 generous tablespoon of tahini
vegetable stock (I used two dessert spoonfuls of GF powdered stock + enough water to cover everything)
couple of glugs of oil
2 pinches of salt
Chop the potatoes into smallish chunks. The size is up to you. The smaller they are, the faster they’ll cook. Slice the celery and onion finely. Heat the oil in a deep pan and swirl the vegetables around in it for a couple of minutes. Drain the chickpeas and rinse them well. Add the chickpeas and the caraway seeds to the veggies. Pour in enough stock so that everything is well covered. Put the lid on and bring to the boil.
Once the soup is boiling, turn it right down and simmer it until the veggies are tender. Then add the salt, lemon juice and tahini and stir in well. Ladle it into bowls and serve.
I topped mine with dill because a life without dill is a life half lived, but labneh and dukkah would also be nice—or nothing at all, because this soup doesn’t need anything else. Try to eat it slowly and politely, or give up all pretence of refinement, put your elbows on the table and slurp it like the ravenous, slavering beast that you are.