MOROCCAN VEGETABLE SOUP WITH POPOVERS

Another cold day. There’s fresh snow on the local mountains. I can see them as I sit here at my computer. It looks like someone has sprinkled icing sugar over their tops. Mountaineering Husband will be in them tomorrow.

I’m making Moroccan Vegetable soup for supper tonight. The perfume of aromatic Moroccan spices drift through the house creating the smells of a souk in Marrakech. Next to being there this is a delicious way to warm up a chilly day. This recipe is from a cooking class series of Moroccan foods we taught here in our Country Home.

HEARTY MOROCCAN VEGETABLE SOUP.

1 TBSP CANOLA OIL
1 ONION, DICED, 1 CUP EACH CHOPPED CARROT AND CELERY,2 CLOVES OR MORE OF MINCED GARLIC,
1 TSP DRIED OREGANO, 1 TSP. RED PEPPER FLAKES, 1 TABLESPOON CUMIN, 1/2 TSP CINNAMON, 1 TSP PAPRIKA, 1/2 TSP SALT AND FRESHLY GROUND BLACK PEPPER
1 SMALL SWEET POTATO PEELED AND CHOPPED,1 LARGE RED, ORANGE, OR YELLOW PEPPER CHOPPED, 1 CAN (28 OZ) WHOLE TOMATOES & JUICE CHOPPED, 1 CAN CHICKPEAS DRAINED RINSED AND SKIN REMOVED, 2 BAY LEAVES and 4 cups chicken stock or water.
If you’re feeling lazy or rushed you don’t have to remove the skin from the chick peas but believe me, it makes a difference in the quality of your soup.

In a saute pan heat oil over medium heat and saute onion, carrot, celery, garlic, and all the seasonings, stirring occasionally, until softened , about 5 minutes.

In your stock pot add the tomatoes, chickpeas, 4 cups of water (or if you wish chicken stock. I always use chicken stock). When the sauteed vegetables are ready add this to your stock pot. Bring to a boil then reduce heat cover and simmer until vegetables are tender – 20-25 minutes. Then add sweet potatoes and cook for about another 10-15 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Serve with chopped green onions and sour cream if you wish.

Chef’s Notes: When you are buying canned tomatoes look for tomatoes from Italy. They have the deep, rich tomato flavour you want. Canned whole tomatoes use the best quality tomatoes. So look for these and roughly chop them with a knife right in the opened tin. Don’t worry if some of the tomatoes escape your knife. They’ll be just fine. If you want to make this ahead let the soup cool for 10 minutes and refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 4 days. This makes about 10 cups or 4-6 servings.

Last night we had dinner at Simpatico Friend’s house. We share a love of food and cooking. Simpatico Friend came to our first bread making class and now is a dear and valued friend. Dinner was a superb rare roast of beef and my contribution to the feast was Yorkshire pudding. I made them in these popover/Yorkshire Pudding tins and they truly grew to dizzy heights. They were so good that I am repeating them tonight for supper but this time I am making popovers. The only  difference between popover and Yorkshire Pudding is popovers have a little butter in the batter. Also if you bake them correctly they don’t deflate the way Yorkshire Pudding does.

My recipe for Parmesan Popovers
All ingredients must be at room temperature
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees
1 cup milk
1 tbsp melted butter
l cup all- purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs beaten
1/2 cup finely  grated Parmesan cheese (make this a scant half cup rather than a generous one)
a generous sprinkle of paprika and a few grains cayenne.

Lightly grease your deep muffin or popover tins and dust the cups lightly with flour. This will give the ingredients something to cling to.

Whisk until just smooth the milk butter, flour and salt. Add the eggs and whisk just until the eggs are mixed into the batter mixture. The batter should be no heavier than whipping cream. Pour l scant tablespoon of batter into each cup and cover it with a few teaspoons of cheese and then more batter. Fill the tins about 3/4 full. Don’t overload – too much batter in the pans will give a muffin like texture. Bake at once. After 15 minutes lower heat without opening the oven to 350 degrees(no peeking) and bake about 20 minutes longer. To test for doneness, remove a popover to be sure the side wals are firm. If not cooked long enough, the popovers will collapse. You may want to insert a sharp paring knife gently into the other popovers to allow the steam to escape after baking.
Prepare to dazzle friends and family!!

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