25 March 2009

Red Pepper and Chickpea Soup with Potato Latkes

These are another couple recipes from Cat Cora's Cooking from the Hip. It seems like I'm on a bit of a roll with her recipes right now, but I'm running into the point where most of what I still want to make involves fish, so I'll stop making so much of it so quickly - I can never quite talk myself into fish more often than once every week or two. a lot of the other things that I'm interested in are things I don't think I'd go to the trouble of making - sushi, for example - or things I'd like to try but can't get my hands on the ingredients easily or cheaply enough.

In any case, this soup didn't photograph well because my red pepper puree didn't really puree that well. It came out a bit chunky rather than smooth, but I'd used a mini-food chopper rather than a blender or food processor. The flavour was pretty amazing though. It's a very simple soup - onions, garlic, chickpeas, pureed red peppers, vegetable stock, and rosemary - but it tasted more complicated than that. I was really impressed though; I'd definitely make it again.

According to the recipe notes, this soup is called Rivithia in Greece, where it's eaten during the fast before Easter when meat isn't allowed. Most of the recipes I looked at online were basically just chickpea soup - chickpeas and rosemary and a few seasonings - but I think the red peppers really added something special to the soup.

The potato latkes were my first successful attempt at making a vegetable pancake. And they tasted pretty fantastic, if I say so myself. They kind of reminded me of colcannon a bit, though with onion rather than cabbage or kale. The recipe asked for sweet potatoes rather than plain potatoes, but you can only really buy sweet potatoes here (at major grocery chains) around the holidays, so I went the lazy route and bought a bag of pre-shredded potatoes.

All around a pretty good, if somewhat light, vegetarian meal. Though maybe light isn't really the word for it, since the chickpeas (for me) are hearty enough to make up for any lack of meat.

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