Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Walnut Beef Soup--Probably from Georgia

The soup season is in. After a month of unstoppable rain, a real fall chill has come. Last weekend for the first time this season it was so cold that the heating system went on and off the whole night. And every time I looked through the window at this depressing weather, I dreamed more and more about a bowl of warm soup.

On Sunday evening we had a dinner at our neighbours who served a pumpkin bisque soup. There was nothing that could taste better on that cold evening, served with fresh, home made bread. But because last week I already made many pumpkin dishes, I decided to cook a different soup. And, for that purpose, I reached for a recipe that has been intriguing me for a long time.

I have been reading a lot about less known cuisines and among them about the Georgian cuisine. And it struck how much walnuts they use. This makes me believe that this soup, which I do not know exactly the origins of, comes from Georgia as walnuts are its main ingredient. It falls into the Eintopf category. Although it is based on basically two main ingredients (walnuts and beef), the two of them already make it very rich. When served with bread that soup can be as satisfying as a main dish. Fresh herbs add a lot of aroma to that already unusual combination.

Walnut Beef Soup

1 lb (about 500g) beef (any tender variety will work best),
1 cup of shelled walnuts,
1 tbsp all purpose flour,
1 tsp ground coriander,
2 garlic cloves,
2 tbsp tomato paste,
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves,
1/2 cup chopped parsley leaves,
1 tsp salt,
ground pepper to taste.

1. Cut beef into about one-inch cubes and put it in a medium pot. Cover the meat with 8 cups of cold water and bring it to boil.
2. When the beef starts to cook skim the foam from the surface and let it cook until the beef becomes soft, which will take 30-40 minutes, depending on how tender the beef is.
3. Chop garlic on the cutting board and mix it with salt. Add to the beef stock.
4. Chop or grind the walnuts and add them to the soup.
5. In a small bowl mix one tablespoon of flour, tomato paste, coriander, and a little bit of water to make a smooth paste. When all the flour clots dissolve, add four tablespoons of beef stock to the tomato paste, mix well and pour into the soup. Stir and let it boil.
6. Remove the pot from the heat, add chopped basil and parsley. Serve with bread.

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