Autumn has been faking me out; one day it’s too chilly to eat lunch outside, then the next day I find myself wondering whether I should’ve put on sunscreen before leaving the building. There haven’t been gusts strong enough to inspire a pumpkin recipe or temperatures low enough to prompt a hearty stew, so I’ve kept one foot in the door even as October attempts to shut Summer out.
This soup is perfect for the seasonal limbo. A cooling herb salad meets bowl of warm broth and toasted pita. Better yet, it’s as easy as chopping and simmering.
The base of this soup is tabbouleh (تبولة), a refreshing Levantine Arab salad that’s often served as a small-dish mezze. It’s tossed with a lot of quality olive oil and toothsome bulgur wheat, but there’s an undeniably bright quality from all the acidity of tomato and lemon juice (like this fattoush salad I posted when Spring came around).
My little parsley plant was nearing the end of its happy days. I couldn’t bring myself to watch it yellow away leaf by leaf, so I decided to let it go out with a flourish—eternalised in a blog post. In the words of Herrick:
Then be not coy, but use your time,
And while ye may, go marry;
For having lost but once your prime,
You may forever tarry.
Or, as my favourite band from “hardcore” preteen years would scream: burn out, not fade away.
Now if only summer would take that advice…
adapted from this recipe
- 1 cup bulgur
- 1 T olive oil
- ½ purple onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 ml (4 cups) quality veg stock (make your own with this recipe)
- 1 bunch of fresh parsley, chopped and divided
- 1 handful of fresh mint, chopped finely
- 1-2 lemons, juice of
- 1 cup cucumber, chopped finely
- 200g (7oz) cherry tomatoes, quartered
- whole wheat pita, toasted to serve
Bring water to a boil and pour over the bulgur, covering with a few inches. Allow to sit aside until the water has been absorbed and the bulgur is tender. Strain away remaining liquid.
Heat up olive oil in a stockpot and sauté garlic and onions for a few minutes. Add vegetable stock and bring to a simmer.
Add the mint, half of the chopped parsley, and lemon juice gradually to taste (this will vary depending on how much soup stock you want to use). Simmer for 15 minutes and adjust the seasonings to taste, especially if you’ve used homemade stock.
Stir in the tomatoes and cucumbers, allowing to cook gently for another few minutes.
To serve, ladle warm broth over bowls of bulgur and sprinkle with the remaining half of chopped parsley. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of freshly cracked black pepper. Lovely with some toasted pita to dip and scoop.