Harissa chicken soup

It suddenly got really cold. I had the privilege of spending the weekend in the Cotswolds with some girlfriends, where the icy polar wind whipped around our ears and brought tears to my eyes. All we could think of was the warm barn and lovingly cupping some warm(ing) drinks. I returned to London rejuvenated, and in the mood for soup. Not just any old soup, though – a slightly spicy chicken soup!


Serves 4

Ingredients for the spice paste (makes about 200ml)

2 red bell peppers, halved and seeds removed

1 teaspoon caraway seeds

2 teaspoons coriander seeds

2 teaspoons  cumin seeds

pinch of dried chilli flakes, to taste

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 large or 2 small garlic cloves, peeled

1 teaspoon sweet paprika powder

50g (about 10 halves)  sun-dried tomatoes marinated in olive oil

1 – 2 tsp lemon juice


Ingredients for the soup

some olive oil or coconut oil

2 small onions, peeled and finely diced

2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced

bay leaf

4 medium carrots, thinly sliced

2 large celery stalks, thinly sliced

4 large handfuls shredded kale, thick stalks discarded and blanched in boiling water

1.25l good-quality chicken stock, preferably home-made using bones from pastured animals

sea salt


To serve

Parsley sprigs

Small handful shredded roast chicken per person

Cooked beans such as haricot or cannellini



  1. For the peppers, roast cut sides up in a moderate oven (180°C/360°F) for about 1 hour,  or until tender and caramelised around the edges. You could also use good quality ready-roasted red peppers from the deli counter.
  2. In the meantime, dry roast the seeds in a medium hot pan until fragrant. Tip into a mortar and once cooled, grind into a powder.
  3. Put all the ingredients for the spice paste into a blender and blend until smooth. Adjust seasoning and set aside.
  4. For the soup, heat the oil over a moderate heat and sweat the onions and garlic until soft. Add the bay leaf, carrots and celery, and gently cook for another few minutes until just tender.
  5. Add the blanched kale and the chicken stock and simmer for a few minutes.
  6. Adjust seasoning, and serve with shredded chicken, cooked beans and lots of spice paste.


One response to “Harissa chicken soup”

  1. Imke says:

    Mmmm, dit kyk heerlik!! Hier raak dit nou ietwat warmer…

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