Bloudan walnut soup

A memory of a mildly spiced creamy soup inspired this recipe. The walnuts from our garden at Bloudan were deliciously moist and milky because we ate them fresh. I have since found that if you put walnuts in a bowl, pour boiling water over them and soak them overnight you can restore a bit of the freshness I remember, so do this if you have time.

Ingredients

  • 1 large white onion
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 25 g butter
  • 2 rounded teaspoons coriander seeds, ground with a pestle and mortar
  • 125 g walnut halves or pieces
  • 1 level tablespoon caster sugar
  • 25 g plain flour
  • 600 ml good chicken stock
  • 750 ml whole milk
  • 1 rounded teaspoon cumin seeds
  • handful of flat-leafed parsley, chopped
  • handful of mint leaves, chopped
  • 6 tablespoons whole milk yogurt
  • sea salt, black pepper

Method

Peel the onion, cut in half and slice as thinly as you can. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large, heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat until the butter is melted. Add the onion and ground coriander and cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes until the onion is soft and slightly browned. Meanwhile put the walnut pieces into a food processor and pulse to grind finely - don’t over-process or the nuts may stick together and become oily.

When the onion is soft, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the sugar and ground walnuts. Then stir in the flour, using a wooden spoon. Gradually stir in the chicken stock and milk, then add the cumin seeds.

Put the saucepan back over a higher heat and bring the soup to the boil, stirring frequently until it bubbles, then cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes. Now reduce the heat, cover the pan and let simmer very gently for 20 minutes. Season the soup to taste with sea salt and black pepper.

Before serving, stir in the chopped parsley and mint leaves. Ladle the hot soup into individual bowls and add a dollop of yogurt to each.

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