One day when I was exploring my neighbouring Peckham, I chanced upon a bag of moghrabieh. It's a giant couscous from the Middle East and I grabbed it immediately. Of course, it was soon forgotten about when I couldn't think of something to do with it immediately. However, while my stock was simmering and I was looking through my over-stuffed cupboard of pastas, lentils and pulses, it sprang back to mind.
A few (of what I think are) Middle Eastern flavours created this light yet warming soup. Broth-like in base, the moghrabieh rolled around the mouth pleasingly and gave the soup body and texture. A spicy roasted red pepper relish added colour and vibrancy and the iron-rich spring greens gave it an almost Christmassy look.
Chicken & Mograbieh Soup
1 chicken carcass
1 onion, halved
1 stalk of celery (or 1lt of good chicken stock instead of the above 4 ingredients)
3 green cardamom pods
1 stick of cinnamon
A pinch of saffron
100gr moghrabieh (you can buy this in Turkish shops)
A large handful of cooked chicken meat
A handful of wintry greens, shredded
For the roasted red pepper relish:
2 red peppers
1 clove garlic
1 spring onion
2 red chillis
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp dry breadcrumbs
Place the chicken carcass in a large stock pot with the carrot, celery, onion, cinnamon, and cloves. Bash the cardamom with the side of your knife and add it in. Simmer for at least 3 hours and strain. Alternatively, simmer the spices in some good-quality chicken stock for half an hour. Halve the red peppers and rub with oil. Place under a high grill and cook until blistered and blackened. Place in a bowl and cover with cling film, leave for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, put a pan of water on to boil. Add the moghrabieh and simmer for 15 - 30 minutes - most recipes on the web say 20 mins but I found mine took more like 40, so keep trying it. When tender, drain and rinse with cold water.
Peel the skin off the peppers and chop finely. Place in a sieve for the water to drain out. Chop the parsley, chillis, garlic and spring onion. Place in a food processor or a pestle and mortar and pound to a paste with the salt. Add the red pepper and lemon juice and carry on pestling. Finally, add the bread crumbs and stir well.
To serve, boil the greens briefly in a little water. Add the moghrabieh to the sieved hot stock and simmer for a minute. Ladle into deep bowls, top with the chicken and the greens, and finally garnish with the roasted red pepper relish.
So, what else can I do with moghrabieh (and how to pronounce it)? Please share any favourite recipes you have.