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Beetroot and Vegetable Soup with Spiced Lamb Kubbeh

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Serves: 6-8

15ml / 1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves
1 carrot, diced
1 courgette, diced
1/2 celery stick, diced (optional)
4-5 cardamom pods
2.5ml / 1/2 tsp curry powder
4 vacuum-packed beetroot (cooked not pickled), finely diced and juice reserved
1 litre / 1 3/4 pint vegetable stock
400g / 14 oz can chopped tomatoes
45-60ml / 3-4 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves
2 bay leaves
15ml / 1 tbsp sugar
salt and ground black pepper
15-30ml / 1-2 tbsp white wine vinegar, to serve

For the kubbeh:
2 large pinches of saffron threads
15mI / 1 tbsp hot water
15ml / 1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
250g / 9 oz lean minced lamb
5ml / 1 tsp vinegar
1/2 bunch fresh mint, chopped
115g / 4 oz plain flour
2-3 pinches of salt
2.5-5ml / 1/2-1 tsp ground turmeric
45-60ml / 3-4 tbsp cold water

For the ginger and coriander paste:
4 garlic cloves, chopped
15-25ml / 1-1 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh root ginger
1/2-4 fresh mild chillies
1/2 large bunch fresh coriander
30ml / 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
extra virgin olive oil


For the paste, process the garlic, ginger and chillies in a food processor. Add the coriander, vinegar, oil and salt and process to a puree. Set aside. To make the kubbeh filling, place the saffron and hot water in a small bowl and leave to infuse (steep). Meanwhile, heat the oil in a pan and fry the onion until softened. Put the onion and saffron water in a food processor and blend. Add the lamb, season and blend. Add the vinegar and mint, then chill.

To make the kubbeh dough, put the flour, salt and ground turmeric in a food processor, then gradually add the water, processing until it forms a sticky dough. Knead on a floured surface for 5 minutes, wrap in a plastic bag and leave to stand for 30 minutes. Divide the dough into 10-15 pieces. Roll each into a ball, then, using a pasta machine, roll into very thin rounds.

Lay the rounds on a well-floured surface. Place a spoonful of filling in the middle of each. Dampen the edges of the dough, then bring them together and seal. Set aside on a floured surface. To make the soup, heat the oil in a pan, add the onion and fry for about 10 minutes, or until softened but not browned. Add half the garlic, the carrot, courgette, celery (if using), cardamom pods and curry powder, and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Add three of the diced beetroot, the stock, tomatoes, coriander, bay leaves and sugar to the pan. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add the remaining beetroot, beetroot juice and garlic to the soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside until ready to serve.

To serve, reheat the soup and poach the dumplings in a large pan of salted boiling water for about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the dumplings from the water as they are cooked and place on a plate to keep warm. Ladle the soup into bowls, adding a dash of vinegar to each bowl, then add two or three dumplings and a small spoonful of the ginger and coriander paste to each. Serve immediately.

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