Afghan Beef and Bean Soup: Shorwa e Ghosht

This recipe has been another one of my experiments. These days I have really struggled to make nutritious and interesting evening meals as I have been distracted by various things that life throws at you. My partner and also have very different preferences when it comes to food, he likes very heavily spiced foods, red meat and lots of carbohydrates! I prefer white meats, like a balance of sweet, bitter, savoury and spice in my food and am trying to loose a little weight at the moment…

One way around this is to make separate meals, every so often. This isn’t ideal as it takes away some of the magic brought by communal eating. However there are the odd occasion when I’m not going to be home for dinner, so this is when he gets to eat meals I wouldn’t normally want to eat!

For this Shorwa e Gosht I took inspiration from Humaira at ‘‘Afghan Culture Unveiled’ who makes the recipe in a pressure cooker. I decided to do the opposite and make it in a slow cooker, kind of like a stew. I also didn’t have some of the ingredients required so made some substitutions. 

Ingredients

  • 500g Diced Lean Beef 
  • One Red Onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 Thai Chilli, chopped
  • 2 tbs Olive Oil
  • 3 tbs Tomato Paste
  • 2 tbs Ground Coriander
  • 2 tbs Ground Cumin
  • ½ tbs Ground Turmeric
  • 1 tbs Salt
  • 1 can Water
  • 1 can Kidney Beans
  • 1 can Chickpeas

     

Method

  • Sauté the onions, garlic and beef in a frying pan until lightly coloured
  • Add all the spices, salt, chilli, and tomato paste and stir to evenly coat all the meat
  • Add kidney beans and chickpeas and reuse a can to add the water
  • Mix it all up and transfer to a slow cooker, cook for at least 6 hours on ‘low’ or 3-4 hours on ‘high’
  • Serve with some yoghurt drizzled on top and some crusty bread or Nan

 

After all those hours of slow cooking the beef was extremely tender and melt in the mouth. The ‘soup’ was more of a thick sauce, hence being more stew like. However if you would prefer a soup, just add more water before slow cooking. 

I think I earned a few brownie points after this meal! 😉

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Cauliflower Broccoli Cheese Soup

Cream of Broccoli and Cauliflower Soup

Cauliflower Broccoli Cheese Soup

Cauliflower Broccoli Cheese Soup

When making Cauliflower and Broccoli Cheese Bake as a side dish for my ‘Toad in the Hole’ I looked at the big pile of left over cauliflower leaves, tough broccoli stalks and thought to myself- “what a waste, surely these can be used and not binned?!”

I don’t usually buy or eat cauliflower, so wasn’t sure if the leaves were edible. A quick internet search later I found that they are an excellent source of Vitamin C! Who knew?… So there are several idea for recipes, one being making cauliflower leaf ‘crisps’ similar to the fashionable ‘kale crisps’, another is to use it like cabbage leaves. I decided to make a soup from the left overs as it is currently grey and miserable outside, so comfort food is necessary!

Cauliflower Leaves and Broccoli Stems

Cauliflower Leaves and Broccoli Stems

This soup is made of left overs, from the vegetables to the cream! I often have left over vegetables in the fridge that end up chopped, bagged, then frozen so it doesn’t go to waste. Currently in the fridge I have celery (another veg I don’t usually cook or eat so had plenty left from a previous recipe) and peeled cloves of garlic. The garlic was on offer for £1 for about 8 from market but we obviously couldn’t get through them fast enough so I spent an hour peeling them and stored them whole in a tub in the freezer. They are great for using in curries and stews! The cream to enrich the soup was left over from making Caramel Profiteroles for Mother’s Day as I had bought 2 tubs of cream, just in case, but luckily didn’t need the second one…

Cauliflower Broccoli Soup

Cauliflower Broccoli Soup

So here’s the recipe, no proper measurements I’m afraid as I was making it up as I went along…

Ingredients

  • Cauliflower leaves and stem from one head of cauliflower- roughly chopped
  • Broccoli stems and any other left overs bits
  • Handful of chopped celery
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • Cream as much as you like
  • Cheese whichever you have in the fridge
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  • In a saucepan sauté all the vegetables together for about 10 minutes until tender
  • Blitz in a blender until smooth
  • Return soup into the saucepan. Add cheese, cream and salt and pepper to taste

I decided to serve with a sprinkling of cayenne pepper and a pumpkin seeds to add crunch. Not bad for using up vegetables that would have ended up in the bin or compost heap!

Cauliflower Broccoli Cheese Soup

Cauliflower Broccoli Cheese Soup

 

 

Spiced Carrot and Lentil Soup

Wintery weather equals warming soups. I made a version of this soup over the Christmas period as I had a massive bag of carrots to use up, but it ended up tasting lovely so I’ve made it again today with a couple of adjustments. You’ll need one large and one medium sauce pan. a blender and a wooden spoon.

Spiced Carrot and Lentil Soup

Spiced Carrot and Lentil Soup

Recipe:

  • Toor Dal (2 handfuls)
  • Carrots (500g or about 9 medium ones)
  • Oil (around 1 tablespoon)
  • Crushed garlic (about 5 cloves)
  • Small red onion (use white or shallots, whatever you have in)
  • Spices (I used mustard seeds, cumin seeds, coriander powder, cumin powder, cayenne pepper and garam masala- about a teaspoon of each or more if you like lots of spice)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Lime (optional- I had one so used it up)

Step 1) Blanch the dal until al-dente in the medium saucepan (I used a pressure cooker). Drain and set to one side.

Toor Dal

Toor Dal (blanched)

Step 2) Chop carrots into small pieces, put into the large pan and cover with enough water so that all carrots are covered. Boil until cooked through (again I used the pressure cooker)

Step 3) As the carrots cook, fry whole spices in oil in the smaller pan and add garlic and onions when the whole spices are fragrant. Once onions and garlic are softened, add powdered spices and salt (I used about 1.5 teaspoons of salt)

Spices, onions and garlic

Spices, onions and garlic (fried)

Step 4) Add the spiced garlic and onions to the cooked carrots (still in the cooking water). Then blend the carrot mixture until smooth. I had to do this in two batches as I only have a jug blender.

Step 5) Put the blanched lentils into the smaller pan that you cooked the spiced onion and garlic mix in, and then add the blended carrot soup. Stir it all up and taste to see if there is enough seasoning. (At this point I added the juice of one lime as it needed to be use up and the soup tasted very sweet, so the lime helps to cut through the sweetness a little).

By keeping the lentils whole and al-dente, it gives a nicer texture to the soup. It has more of a bite and keep you fuller for longer. The Toor Dal I used has an extra earthy flavour which I think adds an extra dimension to the taste, but any lentils can be used! I also used whichever spices I had to hand, so feel free to mix and match the recipe. I’ve also got some cream in the fridge, so may add a sneaky dollop in to add extra richness. 😉

I have portioned up this wholesome spicy soup for office lunches. The longer you leave it in the fridge, the more the flavour develops. This soup took me less than an hour to cook, wash the dishes and eat for lunch today! 🙂