This week’s Friday theme is to share a favorite recipe and the story that goes with it. The recipe that came to mind for me is an incredibly simple, yet flavorful white bean soup I first had when traveling through Morocco three years ago.
Each time I make this soup I am transported back to the first day I tasted it. I was visiting Fez (which you can read more about here) with my teenage daughter and had just finished taking a tour of the ancient medina. We were both hungry, yet a little nervous to try the food on our first day in a foreign country. Deciding to take our chances at a tiny place tucked among the shops of the medina, we went up to the counter to order.
There were no menus, just heaping bowls of salads in a glass case, a steaming pot of soup, and several meat dishes to which I paid no attention. The white bean soup looked like a relatively safe first choice and smelled heavenly to boot. It also came with copious amounts of flatbread to be used in place of a spoon. We scooped up our first bites with the flatbread and tasted what has since become one of my most favorite soups.
Later that day, we traveled from Fez to the capital city of Rabat to join our volunteer group with Cross-Cultural Solutions. As one of the cultural activities during that week-long stay, we were treated to a cooking lesson. When asked what dishes would we like to learn how to make, I saw my opportunity to be taught how to make the delicious soup from the medina. Before anyone else chimed in, I quickly piped up and said, “white bean soup”.
Since that adventure three years ago, I’ve made this soup dozens of times, often along with a vegetable tagine. It’s both comfort food and a way to bring a little of Morocco into my home and to my dinner table. The smells and the flavors always remind me of that first day in Fez as my daughter and I sat in wide-eyed wonder watching the bustle of the day in the medina and eating this amazing soup.
Here’s the incredibly simple recipe:
Moroccan White Bean Soup
* 1 pound (500g) white beans (I like to use cannellini beans, but any white bean will do; if making your own, have them soaked and rinsed prior to assembling the soup; canned beans will also work well)
* 3 tomatoes, grated
* 1 medium onion, grated
* 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
* 2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped
* 2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, finely chopped
* 1 Tbsp. salt
* 2 tsp. paprika
* 2 tsp. cumin
* 1 Tbsp. saffron
* 1 1/2 tsp. ginger
* 1/8 tsp. cayenne (or to taste)
* 1/4 c. veg. oil
* 1/4 c. olive oil
* 6 c. (roughly 1 1/2 liters) of water (you can add up to 1-2 additional cups of water if you like your soup on the thinner side)
Toss all the ingredients in a large pot, then gently stir to let them mingle and get to know each other. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cover for about an hour, stirring occasionally to further encourage joyful connections among the ingredients. Serve with your favorite bread, a nice salad, or a vegetable tagine if you have one.
Be sure to check out these other blogs for some tasty food recipes (and one recipe for story making):
How about you, dear readers? Any favorite recipes you’d like to share? I’m always up for trying a new vegetarian recipe, especially ones that help me use up an abundance of zucchini this time of year. The tea is ready and the pillows expertly fluffed. I always love to hear from you.