He is standing on one side of the cutting board, gingerly chopping cilantro to use in chermoula. His hands smell like garlic. I am washing carrots in the sink, letting the warm water run slowly through my fingers. My hands smell like the cilantro I just rinsed. Iron and Wine is playing on the stereo, Sam Beam’s gentle voice wrapping itself around the folk melody like a snake around its prey. There is the quiet atmosphere of concentration in the air, and though we occasionally talk, it’s clear that we’re here for one thing: making soup. But as in life, Moroccan carrot soup with chermoula is never just what it seems.
Greg and I began cooking Sunday dinners together almost accidentally a few months ago. He made a pact with himself to cook something different every Sunday, and I was just going about cooking dinner because I have this weird thing with food made for the week only tasting good the following day. And next thing you know, we were doing it together, two pairs of hands working on two different cutting boards on two sides of the same kitchen island.
At first, there was some accidental bumping and grinding, moments borne out of frustration at two people who are actually not that great at working together, even after four years of dating. But overall, the accidental nature of this ‘cooking together’ endeavour made it all feel effortless, natural and – dare I say it? – fun.
Then it happened again a weeks later, and again the following week. And then I went away, and missed his hands alongside mine on the same kitchen island. And then I realized that what I really missed was his quiet resolution, his honest eyes, his relentless work ethic, his long-winded talks about law.
So I came back, and we naturally fell into place, two pairs of hands working on two different cutting boards on two sides of the same kitchen island. Almost without noticing, and definitely without trying, a Sunday tradition was born.
This deep and richly flavoured Moroccan carrot soup with slightly spicy and herbaceous chermoula isn’t the result of one of these Sunday cooking sessions. However, it is absolutely worthy of a re-run, the incredible pairing of garlic and cilantro and sweet, earthy carrots a revelation in its own right.
Perhaps sharing in the preparation of this Moroccan carrot soup with chermoula with a loved one will make your union just as perfect?
A girl can hope.
- Moroccan carrot soup:
- 2 onions, chopped into cubes
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1-inch knob of ginger
- 4 cups of carrots, sliced into rings
- 4 cups broth
- 1 large bunch cilantro, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt, or more (to taste)
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- juice of 1 small lemon
- Combine all the ingredients of chermoula in a bowl, except the oil and lemon juice. Slowly drizzle in the oil and juice, whisking the mixture with a fork as you go along. Set aside (chermoula can keep in a sealed jar in the fridge for a week, or even longer).
- Heat heavy bottomed pot to medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, and onions. cook on low-medium heat for 20 minutes, until onions caramelize. Add tumeric, garlic and ginger, mix well, and let cook for another 5 minutes
- Add carrots and broth, cover and bring to a boil. Lower hear to medium-low and cook, covered, for another 40 minutes, until carrots are completely soft and can easily be pierced through with us with a fork.
- blend until smooth.
- Serve Moroccan carrot soup topped with chermoula.