North African spicy chickpea and sweet potato soup

In my last post I mentioned that I often take home-made soup to work for lunch. I love making soup; it’s easy, cheap, filling, and super versatile. I could probably post a soup recipe every week and never run out of ideas, but here’s just one to begin with.

Harissa paste is a North African blend of chillies and spices that works as a brilliant cheat ingredient for sexing up soup, stew, sandwiches, homous, roasted vegetables. It’s probably my new favourite ingredient. The soup would be great without it (chickpeas AND sweet potato, two of my favourite soup items), but including harissa gives it a Moroccan tagine-style edge that makes it insanely good.

This isn’t the best food photo I’ve ever taken, but you get the idea (recipe below):

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Recipe (serves 2-4)

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1-2 red chillies, chopped (optional, depending on how hot you like it)
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon harissa paste
  • 1 tin chickpeas, drained
  • Half a tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 600ml vegetable stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion, garlic, chillies, and sweet potato, cover and sweat over a low-medium heat for about 10 minutes.

Add the cumin, harissa paste, about three quarters of the chickpeas, the tomatoes and stock. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Allow to cool slightly then blend until smooth. Add the rest of the chickpeas, heat through and check for seasoning.

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