The earthy flavours of spinach, chickpeas and barley come together in this Winter dish which is Turkish in style. A soup, it is full of comfort, nourishment and hope for the future. Are you with me in your love for Winter soups? And with everything that is going on in the world at the moment, we need a little hope for the future. The inspiration for this came from Turquoise, a special book about Turkish cuisine.
Turkish Spinach Soup with Chickpeas and Barley
160g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained
2 Tblspn olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
3 sticks celery, finely chopped
2 clove garlic, finely chopped
0.5 tspn allspice
0.5 tspn cinnamon
5 sprigs thyme
220 g spinach or silver beet, stems removed and chopped
100 g pearl barley, soaked for 30 mins and drained
1.5 l stock or water
2 bay leaves
1 red chilli, shredded
1 tomato, seeded and diced
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
lemon juice, to serve
thick yoghurt OR extra virgin olive oil, to serve
Heat the oil in a large, heavy based saucepan and saute the onion, celery and garlic for 6 – 7 minutes, until the vegetables soften.
Add the spices, thyme and spinach or silver beet, and toss everything around for a few minutes as the spinach wilts.
Add the drained chickpeas and barley to the pan with the stock and bay leaves. Cover and bring to the boil and then simmer for an hour until the chickpeas and barley are tender.
Add the chilli and tomato, and season generously with salt and pepper. Simmer for a few minutes. Remove the bay leaves and thyme stalks.
Ladle the soup into bowls. Add a squeeze of lemon to each. Garnish with yoghurt or drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil.
recipe notes and alternatives
Tomatoes go well with this dish too. Add 3 or 4 finely diced tomatoes with the stock. You can omit the tomato that is shown in the recipe, or keep the fresh tomato flavour by adding it near the end as described.
Chilli paste can be used instead of fresh chilli.