Spicy Chickpea Stew with Feta Cream

This is a fast and simple recipe, but the combination of the harissa and feta flavors really makes it pop.  If you do not have access to fresh harissa, you can make your own with a blend of caraway, paprika, cumin, coriander, and chilli.  This recipe is adapted from 101 Cookbooks.

Tomato-Chickpea-and-Harissa-Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 4 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 T harissa paste (if you harissa paste has any of the spices listed below, adjust accordingly)
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 1 t ground coriander
  • 1.5 t whole caraway seeds
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 2.5 c drained cooked chickpeas
  • 4-5 c water water
  • 3/4 c coarse bulgur wheat
  • 1 t salt, or to taste
  • black pepper, to taste
  • fresh herbs for serving

Feta Cream

  • 3.5 oz feta, broken into large chunks
  • 1/4 c crème fraîche or sour cream
  • 1 c cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 c fresh mint

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, then add the onions and sauté for 5-10 minutes until translucent.
  2. Add the garlic, carrots, and celery, and continue cooking for another 8 minutes until soft.
  3. Add the harissa and spices, and cook for a further 2 minutes, until fragrant.
  4. Gently chickpeas into the vegetable mixture, along with salt and plenty of black pepper.
  5. Add most of the water, bring to a boil, then turn down heat to low and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, rinse bulgur, put in a small saucepan, and cover generously with cold water.
  7. Bring bulgur to a boil, cook according to package instructions,  then drain, refresh under cold water, drain again and set aside.
  8. To make feta cream, put feta, crème fraîche, cilantro, and mint in a small food processor and blitz for a couple of minutes, until a smooth paste forms.
  9. Before serving, add the cooked bulgur to the soup and bring to a gentle simmer. Divide the soup among bowls, add a spoonful of feta paste to each bowl, top with some herbs, and serve at once.