Garlic Soup with Harissa

Two days after the end of our holiday, British Airways very generously and efficiently returned our luggage. We celebrated with a bowl of Yotam Ottolenghi garlic soup. Britain’s favourite soup.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20-30 minutes
Skill level: Easy
Serves: 4
Recipe source: Yotam Ottolenghi


  • 25 (yes 25) garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • butter – 40g
  • olive oil – 2 tbsp
  • 1 medium onion – finely chopped
  • 3 celery sticks – finely diced
  • fresh ginger – chopped – 2 tsp
  • fresh thyme – finely chopped – 1 tsp
  • sea salt – ½ tsp
  • white wine – 200ml
  • saffron – generous pinch
  • 4 bay leaves
  • vegetable stock – 1 l
  • parsley – roughly chopped – 4 tbsp
  • harissa – as much as you fancy/can handle

Gently fry the onion and celery until soft and translucent (about 10 minutes). Add the garlic and cook for a further five minutes.

Add the ginger, thyme and wine and leave to bubble for a few minutes.

Add the saffron, bay leaves and stock, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Remove the bay leaves, add the parsley and blitz with a hand-held liquidiser. Do not over-process – keep some texture.

Season if necessary.

Serve with a small squirt of harissa.

Verdict: A delicious, rich soup which, not surprisingly, has more than a hint of garlic. Ginger and harissa give it an exotic spiciness.

Drink: Cold beer retrieved from our late-arriving suitcases.

Entertainment: The Tomorrow People – Slaves of Jedikiah, Series 1, Episode 1 on DVD. Distantly remembered and haunting title sequence and theme tune. Despite the ‘Childrens Film Foundation’ acting, occasional unintentional slap-stick, sticky-backed plastic psychedelic sets and special effects which would make even Roj Blake laugh, this was a pretty sophisticated series. Much better than ‘Rent-a-Ghost’.

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