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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Weekly Recipes: Spring Herb Soup & Tabbouleh

Spring Herb Soup
Those of you who know me will be amazed that I have listed mushroom broth at all, let alone prefer it here. I do think that mushroom broth is better than the vegetable broth. This is a simple, tasty soup that is perfect for the spring. I serve it with salad and fruit, or rolls.

3 tablespoons light oil, such as sunflower seed or safflower oil
6 medium to large leeks, washed well and thinly sliced (white and light green parts, save the tougher section for stock)
6 spring onions (or 12 scallions), cleaned and thinly sliced
2 bunches of parsley, trimmed and finely chopped, reserving about 2 tablespoons to garnish
2 bunches thyme, leaves stripped from stems
1 bunch tarragon, leaves stripped and finely chopped, reserving about 2 tablespoons to garnish
6 quarts mushroom broth or vegetable broth
1 tablespoon kosher salt, less if your broth is salty
2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
1 pound campanelle or other medium sized, pretty pasta

Heat a large soup pot over medium high heat while you prepare your ingredients. Add oil to pot and immediately add the leeks, spring onions, parsley, thyme, and tarragon to the pot and stir to soften. When the vegetables and herbs are soft, add broth, salt, pepper, and pasta, and bring to a boil. Turn to low and simmer until pasta is cooked al dente and taste for seasoning, adjusting salt and pepper as necessary.

This salad really improves with a day to blend the flavors. The traditional Lebanese style of tabbouleh has a higher ratio of parsley and mint to the bulgur, so you may wish to increase their amounts. If you wish to make it ahead, add everything except the tomatoes, and do not garnish with the lettuce until just before you serve.

3 cups medium bulgur
hot water to cover by an inch
3 bunches Italian parsley, trimmed and chopped finely
3 bunches mint, leaves removed from stems, and chopped finely
3 bunch scallions, chopped finely
4 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and finely diced
6 medium tomatoes, seeded and finely diced
1 cup good olive oil
juice of 6 lemons
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Romaine lettuce to garnish (optional)

Soak bulgur in hot water in a large bowl, for at least an hour. It should have absorbed all the water.

Mix parsley, mint, scallions, cucumbers and tomatoes into bulgur.

Whisk olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper into a vinaigrette. Pour over salad and toss together to mix thoroughly. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.

Garnish salad bowl with individual lettuce leaves stood on end, tucked around the edge of the bowl, and serve, using the lettuce as a bowl for the salad.

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