Approx cost: €6.50
Approx calories: ~250
Approx preparation and cooking time: 100 minutes
[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #0B0B61;”] S o, officially, a chorba is defined as follows: “one of various kinds of soup or stew found in national cuisines across Eurasia”. That said, you can commonly find a certain kind in particular being sold in France in the form of nasty dried soup sachets which you boil up with water for 20 minutes and then end up with a pan full of liquid vaguely resembling something edible. Ok – it’s not that bad, but now that I’ve actually got around to making it myself I sure won’t be going back in a hurry! As per the Wikipedia article, it is effectively a soup with no pre-defined ingredients list so feel free to go crazy with the ingredients. I’ll say that the one I made was pretty darn good, if quite spicy, especially if you ended up biting down on the dried chillies I’d hidden away deep in the stock-pot, so, while a bit of kick is very important to such a dish, don’t go overboard.
It’s a great dish – full of flavour and very healthy. You can swap the beans out for pasta, as you like, and the best thing is it’s really cheap too. The quantity I made was enough for more than 6 huge bowls so it’s definitely something you can stash in the freezer for a day when you don’t feel like cooking much! Enjoy
- 250g Chick Peas, tinned, ready to eat
- 250g Kidney Beans, tinned, ready to eat
- 200g Potatoes
- 200g Lamb (or more, as you wish)
- 5 large cloves of Garlic
- 6 fresh Tomatoes
- ~250g tinned, Chopped Tomatoes
- 3 tbsps Tomato Concentrate
- 1 large Onion
- 2-3 branches of Celery
- 2-3 Turnips
- 2-3 Carrots
- 3 tsps Paprika
- 2 tsps Cayenne Pepper
- 2 or 3 dried Chillies
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 Beef Stock Cube
- 1 Lemon
- A large handful of fresh Parsley
- Start by pouring the oil into a very large saucepan and then peeling the onion and garlic and slicing finely. Transfer into the pan but don’t heat yet. Peel the turnips, potatoes and carrots, chop into small pieces – each piece maybe the size of a quarter of a teaspoon – and add to the pan. Slice the celery, chop and add to the pan too. Finally, slice the lamb very finely into small pieces and add to the pan. Place the pan onto a hot stove and heat through, stirring well to ensure all the vegetables and the meat and oil mix well.
- After you’ve cooked the lamb through, crumble in the stock cube and around 1 – 1.5 litres of water. The soup is obviously better if you serve it with a really good home-made, meaty stock but unfortunately in this case I had none, so nasty stock cube it was. Chop the parsley finely and add to the water. Add in the Cayenne Pepper, the dried Chillies and some freshly ground salt and pepper. Cover the pan and bring to the boil. Cook for about 10-15 minutes, by which time the vegetables should have cooked through. While the vegetables are cooking, bring another pan filled with water to the boil and then move to step 3.
- Once the extra pan of water is boiling, remove from the heat and place the fresh tomatoes into the water for about 2 minutes. Remove and rinse under cold water and by this time the skin should have cracked and started to peel off. Peel the tomatoes as best as you can and slice off the tops. Uncover the soup pan and gently place the tomatoes into the pan. Pour in the tinned tomatoes, and add the tomato concentrate. Slice the lemon in half and place one half inside the soup. Add the paprika, stir gently, cover again and return to the heat.
- Continue to cook the soup for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. By the end of this time, the fresh tomatoes should be breaking down, although give them a bit of a squish with a spoon if they’re not. Add in the chick peas and kidney beans and the juice from the remaining half of the lemon and cook, uncovered, for another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Serve into bowls and enjoy with some good crusty bread. Enjoy, and watch out for those dried chillies!