Sunday, February 12, 2017

Other Cultures Cooking Project: Cannellini and Lamb Soup (Ottolenghi/Tamimi)

Cannellini and Lamb Soup from Jerusalem, p. 135, photo by RM

This is probably one of the best soups I have ever made and was absolutely perfect for the snowy wintery weather we've been having.

A few things.

It calls for 20 cloves of garlic.



This is my favorite tool to peel garlic. It shouldn't cost more than 2 bucks. You don't need anything fancier. All you need is a clean, stable, and dry surface. The older the garlic, the easier it is to peel.

This actually works, believe it or not, in removing garlic odors from your hands. Yes, I know, you can rub your hands all over your stainless steel kitchen faucet, but forgive me if I think this is more graceful. And a shout out here to Katie (over at Cook The Book Fridays) who sent me my steel soap one year for Christmas!


I made no substitutions, except that I used canned cannellini beans because planning ahead enough to soak dried ones never happens. I threw them in with the potatoes in the last 20 minutes of cooking time. I recommend letting your taste, smell, and sight guide you, rather than following the cooking times exactly. I didn't need a full hour to simmer the meat and the potatoes were done in about 15.

Also, if you've never used cardamom pods, you are missing out.

This particular recipe reflects the culinary influence Jews in Yemen who settled there in the 1950s. I'm not interested in getting political here on this blog, but I am interested in a cultural exploration of food. The cardamom, turmeric, and cumin were beautifully balanced. Ottolenghi notes that adding cinnamon would make it more in the tradition of Aleppine Jews.

We paired it with a good and relatively inexpensive red blend from South Africa. I suggest decanting and letting it breathe. My husband says I always say that, but with this wine, I really mean it! It was heavy on the berries and fruit, but became a much more interesting wine by the end of the glass.