Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Chicken & Mograbieh Soup

Another great thing about roasting a chicken is all the peripheral bits you get from it. The carcass, stripped of all it's meat simmers in a pot of water with some flavourings to create the perfect soup base or stock. Any leftover meat (usually the breast in our house) makes a good sandwich or pie filler, but this time I decided it was to go back in the soup.

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

Serves 2

1 chicken carcass
1 carrot
1 onion, halved
1 stalk of celery (or 1lt of good chicken stock instead of the above 4 ingredients)
3 green cardamom pods
4 cloves
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
20gr parsley
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.


Ibzo said...

Being Lebanese, I do enjoy moghrabieh. My brother wrote a recipe on his Lebanese-influenced cooking blog:


Very easy, my mum's been feeding us it for years but he made a couple of alterations to her recipe. Enjoy.

shayma said...

mmm mmm so gorgeous! i should be tying up the loose ends (packing!) and instead i am drooling at this post-love the spices, saffron, cardamom.
must. go. now. x

noodlecapricciosa said...

i'm thinking this would be great for turkey leftovers.

Graphic Foodie said...

Never come across moghrabieh before. Love these little discoveries! Soup looks delicious - perfect to ward away the chills.

ginandcrumpets said...

I had giant couscous once, loved it and could never find it again. And you tell me it's available in Peckham? Truly, everything is available in Peckham.

The Student Gourmet said...

Looks delicious - agree with noodlecapricciosa about the leftover turkey.

My local Holland and Barrett sells giant couscous, in the guise of 'Israeli couscous'.

Ailsa said...

Hi Lizzie, there's a really nice recipe with mograbieh in the Ottolenghi book (I saw from one of your other posts that you have it). It's a salad with normal couscous and giant couscous, fried onions and slow-roasted tomatoes, if I remember rightly. Really good!