Friday 19 October 2012

Leek and potato soup, Abghoost and the call of the woods...

I'd like to think that it's all down to my nurturing that H was back to her jolly self after two days in bed, even if she did tease me that the leek and potato soup I made looked like something Charlie's grandparent's in Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory would eat....A sure sign that she was getting better...

'A' seems to have succumbed now and although I can't get him to stay off school or drink my special cough brew, he did let me make some of his mum's Persian abgoosht for him...It literally means water/meat...a kind of broth or soup.  He remembers the bakers making it in their bread ovens overnight in small clay pots ready for breakfast. Apparently workers and students would buy this cheap but wholesome food to start their long day...punctuated with a siesta. Mama would send A and his brothers off to get some too. They'd meet up with their school-friends on the way and buy abgoosht along with their daily freshly baked bread, before going off to school. Probably late, and knowing A and his brothers having gotten into all sorts of mischief on the way...

It's one of the very first Persian foods that I learned to cook...probably because it is the easiest foods you could ever make, as well as being very cheap...perfect for a student household.

To make abghoost you will need: 

  • Dried chick peas, about a cup. I used what was left in the jar...With mama'a recipes the measurements were all a bit vague.  
  • A large white onion or two small ones just cut up into need to even slice 
  • Lamb on the bone. Something like neck or shank. The cheapest cuts of meat will do as it's cooked slowly for a very long time until  the chick peas are soft and the meat falls off the bone. 
  • There are hardly any spices just a little turmeric and sea salt.  


This is truly a one pot meal. 
  1. Simply place the meat some water the washed beans, sea salt a little turmeric and the onion with peel removed and chopped into big chunks into a saucepan or casserole dish. 
  2. Cook on the hob or in the oven for as long as you can at least three or four hours until the meat falls off the bone and the chick peas are tender. 
  3. If using the oven method bake on a high heat for a little while until the water comes to the boil and then reduce for the remainder of the cooking time.
  4. Which ever method you choose rember to check every-so-often to ensure the liquid doesn't need topping up.

It makes a very tasty broth. A likes to eat it with talid. He rips up pieces of flat bread into a large bowl and then pours the soup over it until it's all soft and comforting. 

Another version of this dish Obgoosht Desfuli comes from the hot South of Iran where his mama was born. It has white beans too and tomatoes, potatoes, tomato paste and dried limes. Once cooked the liquid is drained off and the other ingredients pounded until they resemble a kind of pate.  

We have a big wooden tool to do this. (I'll go and take a photo)...there...a kind of mortar... 

The two are then served together, a clear red soup and a kind of pate that tastes nice with toast. 

This is an image I found of wiki of the tomato-ie abgoosht cooked in cute little pots... 

To make my leek and potato soup you will need:

  • Two leeks
  • Two medium sized potatoes
  • One stick of celery
  • About an eighth of a smallish green cabbage
  • Bay leaves
  • A small piece of ginger
  • Two cloves of garlic
  • Hot chicken or vegetable stock
  • A little turmeric
  • Salt and pepper
  • A little butter or olive oil
  1. Top, tail and slit in half the leeks. Cut into chunks and then wash really well.
  2. Saute in olive oil or butter.
  3. Meanwhile de-vein, wash and chop the celery, peel and chop the potatoes into small pieces.
  4. Shred the cabbage.
  5. Peel and crush the garlic, grate the ginger and add both to the leeks along with a little turmeric. Cook for a couple of minutes before adding all the other vegetables.
  6. Stir well and saute for a few minutes.
  7. Add the hot stock and cook until the vegetables are tender.

This is a healthy, hearty soup. I didn't use very much spice as the cabbage, leek and celery are all quite strong flavoured vegetables. I used a little turmeric and ginger...not a lot as I was using these more for medicinal than culinary use.  

Tasty with toasted wholemeal seeded bread and butter... was even a thumbs up from H despite her teasing...

I seemed to have been spending fruitful days inside making lemon and honey drinks and knitting which is great because I've finished my cardigan. It's lovely and cosy. I also  made lots of things for stall's and stitched in labels and magnetic fasteners.   But all the time the garden and the woods were calling to me...eventually I escaped for a little bit and watched a spider do her own bit of knitting...well spinning...then trimmed some ivy that was threatening to prevent us getting in the house and swept some leaves that are slowly beginning to fall...there is still a lot of green about but gradually the colours are changing....


  1. both wonderful... the aghoost i've never heard of but I WANT it now!... beautiful x

  2. My daughter and I love leek and potato soup! I will be making a batch when she is home on her school break :) Hope everyone is healthy now!!