October 8, 2014

Pistachio soup – by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

Just to put it on the record, I love Yotam Ottolenghi but, I am in love with my husband! I love Ottolenghi for his passion, his food and his philosophy. I particularly like his quote “Meat should be a celebration, not everyday. There is so much else out there”.  I share this belief in common and try to consciously explore a wider range of vegetables to enjoy in my diet and I feel better while also decreasing the consumption of meat. Ottolenghi is a master of making vegetable dishes beautiful and inspiring using so many aromatic and vibrant ingredients that are mostly accessible to everybody.

Truth be told, I have loved Ottolenghi since discovering his beautiful cookbooks in Vancouver, Canada back in 2012 and Jerusalem is my favourite.

Today, I want to dedicate my post to the Pistachio soup from the cookbook Jerusalem co-authored by Ottolenghi and Tamimi. The latest cookbook by Ottolenghi, Plenty More is selling out fast and is spilling with 120 more recipes that are all vegetable-based. With so many delicious choices, I will be working my way through these for quite some time, and as with Jerusalem, there is hardly a dish in there I am not excited by.

The Pistachio soup is a green soup (less green if you don’t skin them) packed with loads of nourishing goodness. There are so many key nutritional benefits to your health; potentially lowering bad cholesterol, helping balance hormones, healthy blood and allowing optimal messaging between nerves due to high amounts of Vitamin B6 and other antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

Another major victory with this recipe is the entire family enjoyed it; my 16 month old included! It is rich so this recipe although a success will not become part of my weekly repertoire.

Pistachio soup – by Yotam Ottolenghi (and Sami Tamimi)

Pistachio Soup


2 Tablespoons boiling water

1/4 teaspoon saffron threads

1 2/3 cups / 200gm shelled unsalted pistachios

2 Tablespoons / 30 gm unsalted butter

4 shallots, finely chopped (100gm in total)

25 gm ginger peeled and finely chopped

1 leek, finely chopped (1 1/4 cups / 150gm in total) Note: I needed two large leeks as I used mainly white part

2 teaspoons ground cumin

3 cups / 700 ml chicken stock (I use a gluten-free product)

1/3 cup / 80 ml freshly squeezed orange juice (I used about three oranges)

1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

salt and freshly ground pepper

sour cream, to serve


Preheat the oven to 180 C / 350 F. Pour the boiling water over the saffron threads in a small cup and leave to infuse for 30 minutes.

To remove the pistachio skins, blanch the nuts in boiling water for 1 minute, drain and while still hot, remove the skins by pressing the nuts between your fingers. Not all the skins will come off as with almonds – this is fine as it won’t affect the soup – but getting rid of some skin will improve the colour, making it a brighter green. Spread the pistachios out on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 8 minutes. Remove and leave to cool.

Heat the butter in a large saucepan and add the shallots, ginger, leek, cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt and some black pepper. Saute over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring often, until the shallots are completely soft. Add the stock and half of the saffron liquid. Cover the pan, lower the heat, and let the soup simmer for 20 minutes.

Place all but 1 tablespoon of the pistachios in a large bowl along with half of the soup. Use a handheld blender to blitz until smooth and then return this to the saucepan. Add the orange and lemon juice, reheat and taste to adjust the seasoning.

To serve, coursely chop up the reserved pistachios. Transfer the hot soup into bowls and top with a spoonful of sour cream. Sprinkle with the pistachios and drizzle with the remaining saffron liquid.

Note: I blended soup completely for my kids. I think a small spoonful of coconut yoghurt can work well too instead of sour cream for a dairy free alternative. I added extra orange juice because I love that sweetness in there.




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