Hilary was in West Virginia over the weekend and had a long drive back in the rain. Clearly she needed some delicious soup upon her arrival back in town. As she was driving home, I started making the veggie stock for this soup. I started taking Mark Bittman's advice and freezing leftover bits of carrots, celery, onion, good stock veggies in the freezer and pulling them out when it is time to go ahead and make a stock. I also added some fresh items, including the stems from my recent beet purchase.
I ended up with tons of stock, enough for the 5 cups needed in this recipe plus 4 cups or so to put in the freezer.
This recipe comes from a cookbook (Vegetarian: the Best Ever Recipe Collection) I love but rarely use. I love it because it has photos with every recipe, both of the final product and of intermediate steps. Sometimes it's hard to envision what a recipe will turn out looking like, and its difficult to tell what will be appealing just based on ingredients and description. Looking through this cookbook, the photos make it all look especially appealing.
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
5 cups vegetable stock
12 ounces potatoes, peeled and finely chopped (I used two medium baking potatoes)
15 ounce can chickpeas, drained
1 Tbsp cornstarch
2/3 cup heavy cream (I used half and half)
2 Tbsp tahini
7 oz spinach, shredded (I used baby spinach, whole leaves)
salt + pepper
Heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the garlic and onion for 5 minutes, or until they are softened and golden brown. Stir in the cumin and coriander and cook for another minute.
Pour in the stock and add the chopped potatoes to the pan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the chickpeas and simmer for 5 minutes more, or until the potatoes and chickpeas are just tender.
Blend together the cornstarch, cream, tahini, and plenty of seasoning. Stir into the soup with the spinach. Bring to a boil, stirring, for another 2 minutes. Season with cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper.
Serve immediately, sprinkled with a little cayenne pepper.
When I started making the soup, Hilary commented that it smelled just like chili. Yes! It does start out much like chili, with a similar group of spices. But it turns out nothing like chili at all. I tend not to make soups with much cream in them, perhaps because my signature "rainy day soup" uses shredded potatoes instead of dairy, so I always feel that is an acceptable substitute. But in this soup, the creaminess is perfect, offsetting the chili-esque spices and really making it a warming meal, good for a return home after a long rainy drive.