If you’re anything like me, January is not the month to start new things. I neither like to begin or give up anything when it’s cold and grey outside. January is about making my life easier so I’ve gone for a recipe that used storecupboard ingredients and took 30 minutes to make. It happens to be vegan if that was your January plan and excellent with a glass of red wine if you reading this in February…
It’s really worth buying the pomegranate molasses if you can. You won’t regret making a trip to the Nour Cash and Carry for it at an excellent price trust me!
Aubergine and Pomegranate Soup (serves 2)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 large aubergine, diced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
- 1 x 400g tin of white beans (such as butter or white kidney beans)
- 750ml vegetable stock
- 1/2 pomegranate, seeds removed and served on top
Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan and sweat the diced onion for about 5 minutes on a medium heat. Add the aubergine and allow both to soften and colour gently for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The aubergine will absorb all the oil and stick slightly but don’t add more and it will brown around the edges to add flavour.
After 10 minutes add the cumin and half the pomegranate molasses to the softened vegetables. Make they are well coated and allow to caramelise and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring regularly.
Drain the beans and wash well under running water to remove the sticky film tinned pulse have which makes them harder to digest. Add to the caramelised vegetables and add the rest of the pomegranate molasses.
Cook for another minute and add two thirds of vegetable stock. I usually buy Marigold bouillon powder which is available in Oracle in Brixton Village or Esme’s in Market Row and has the best flavour of all the veggie stocks I’ve tried. So many taste like cheap crisps to me but this is great. Simmer the soup for another few minutes to warm the beans through and combine the flavours, seasoning well.
Carefully cut your pomegranate in half and place one half in a bowlful of cold water. Using your fingers, pull the skin back and start to loosen the seeds from it and the white inner pith. The pith will float and the seeds will sink. Simply scoop the pith and peel out with your hand and then drain the water off the seeds. Rinse them if needed and repeat with the other half which you can keep aside for another occasion. This is how you peel a pomegranate without hassle or mess.
Take the soup off the heat and use a hand blender to puree it to a smooth silky texture. It will be very thick at this stage so add as much more of the vegetable stock to reach the texture you like and gently warm it again before checking the seasoning and serving with a drizzle of olive oil and the pomegranate arils scattered on top.
Even if it isn’t the most cheerful looking soup, it will brighten up any winter day in Brixton in no time at all and remind me to buy aubergines more often.