1. Pomegranate Soup


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    When we lived in Moscow I grew to crave the fresh and

    spicy food from the region. I was not alone most Russians adore it too.

    We spent many a fine evening listening to balalaika music

    while enjoying dishes tart with pomegranates and redolent with fresh herbs.

    This colourful soup is a recipe from Samarkand: Recipes & Stories

    from Central Asia & the Caucasus Hardcover by Caroline Eden and Eleanor Ford.

     

    Pomegranate Soup

    Serves 4

    150g yellow split peas

    2 tablespoons olive oil

    2 onions, finely chopped 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

    1 teaspoon ground turmeric

    1/2 teaspoon chili powder

    1/2 cinnamon stick

    1 litre hot vegetable stock ( You can fine good tasting organic in most supermarkets)

    400ml pomegranate juice

    2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses pinch of sugar (optional)

    2 spring onions, chopped

    150g spinach leaves, roughly chopped a handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves,

    Roughly chopped a handful of coriander (cilantro) leaves, roughly chopped

    sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

    To serve seeds of 1/2 pomegranate 1 tablespoon mint leaves, thinly sliced

     

    This is an Azerbaijani soup with sweet, tart and complex spice flavours.

    Substitute the split peas for green or brown lentils if you prefer.

    Unless your split peas are very fresh, soak them overnight in cold water.

    Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat and soften the onions.

    Add the garlic and spices and stir for a minute or two, until fragrant.

    Tip in the split peas, add the stock and pomegranate juice and bring to the boil.

    Cook for 30-45 minutes, until the split peas are tender.

    Add more hot water if you want a thinner broth.

    Stir in the pomegranate molasses and taste the soup for seasoning.

    If it is tart, a pinch of sugar will mellow the flavour.

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