In late December of 2008 I embarked on my first season of Sunday Soups. I had never been one for cooking and did not have a particular penchant for soup. However, the two new affinities somehow grew together, opening my gustatory world that much more, enriching the gastronomical me ( to borrow a title from one of my favourite foodie authors, MFK Fisher).
This weekend began my third season of Sunday Soups, though the stock for this one was begun on Friday evening and the soup was prepared and underwent a first consumption on Saturday. Such are the vicissitudes of a wilde wendy let loose in the kitchen.
The premiere soup of season iii is a Georgian soup known as yaini. Served in the Trans-Caucasian area of the former Soviet Union, it is also served in neighbouring Armenia.
In a previous career I participated in multiple international training workshops in central Europe with colleagues from Georgia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Romania and other parts of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Prepping the soup made me a bit nostalgic and sent me into an on line search, where I was able to find most of these former colleagues. Sappy soup.
Georgian Beef and Apricot Soup
- 2lbs beef chuck or brisket (I picked up a brisket at Queen Street Meat Market)
- 3 onions quartered
- 4 carrots chopped
- 15 sprigs fresh dill
- 15 sprigs fresh cilantro
- 15 sprigs fresh parsley
- salt to taste
- 2tbsp ghee
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 2 medium tomatoes chopped
- 1lb island potatoes, cut into cubes
- 2oz dried organic apricots
- fresh ground pepper to taste
Bring 2 quarts of water to boil in a large pot. Add beef, quartered onions, carrots, dill, cilantro and parsley. Return to a boil, skimming any foam from surface. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for one hour.
Remove the beef, cube and return to pot. Keep at a simmer, partially covered for another 4 hours.
Remove the beef and set aside. Strain the broth and add water, if necessary, to top up to 6 cups. Add salt and set aside.
In a large soup pot melt ghee over high heat. Add chopped onion and cook, stirring until softened and translucent.
Add chopped tomato. Cook and stir several minutes until moisture evaporates.
Add reserved broth and beef. Add potatoes and apricots.
Season to taste with black pepper and additional salt if desired.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and continue cooking until the potatoes are tender
Serve garnished with fresh chopped cilantro.
This soup is delicious. The apricots give a hint of sweetness and the broth has richly nuanced flavours. It would be sad and pointless to make this soup with a shortcut purchased broth.