My Spice Drawer

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Arabian Chickpea Spinach Soup

John Stephens of Otley England's Mill Kitchen makes a Moroccan Chickpea Soup which was the inspiration for this variation. The sweet and the tart flavours blend beautifully with our Arabian Baharat creating a soup which would be equally at home on a cold winter night or at a fancy dinner party.

 2 tbsp olive oil
 3 medium onions finely chopped
 2 cloves garlic crushed
 6-8 tsp Arabian Baharat
 2 tbsp tomato paste
 150g dried apricots chopped
 Zest of 1/2 a lemon
 Juice of 1 small lemon
 1-19 oz can chickpeas
 6 cups vegetable stock
 1 large bunch spinach (200g), stemmed and shredded
 Salt to taste (1/2 tsp)

For garnish:
 whole yogurt and fresh mint leaves

Heat oil and cook onions gently at low heat in a covered soup pot until translucent but not browned. Add garlic, Arabian Baharat and continue cooking stirring constantly for a minute. Stir in tomato paste and cook for 3 minutes more. Add apricots, lemon zest & juice, chickpeas and stock. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes until cooked.

Cool soup slightly, pour into blender and blend until smooth. Return to saucepan, reheat to low simmer, add spinach and stir in until it wilts (approximately 5 minutes).

Garnish each bowl with a swirl of yogurt and 1 or 2 coarsely chopped mint leaves.