Recipe for bouktouf
When you voted to try bouktouf from The Soup Peddler's Slow & Difficult Soups, I winced just a little bit. The recipe for this Algerian vegan soup calls for two bunches of cilantro, and I am one of those "cilantro tastes like soap" people. It turns out that the bright orange color isn't the only surprising thing about this soup; the addition of a large amount of lemon juice tames the flavor of the cilantro, in a good way, and gives the soup a lovely freshness.
Here's the original recipe, word for word (because nobody could improve on it!). I cut the recipe in half when I made it, and ended up with 5 cups of soup. And I cooked it in a 5-quart Dutch oven.
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 onions, chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and diced (I used Idaho potatoes)
3 large zucchini, diced
1/4 cup tomato paste
Juice of 4 lemons, or to taste
2 bunches cilantro, coarsely chopped, stems included
Salt (I used 1 tsp kosher salt)
Heat the oil in the bottom (where else?) of your soup pot over medium-high heat. The oil should form a deep puddle. Add the onions and sauté them slowly, longingly, until they are limpid, about 15 minutes.
Add the potatoes, zucchini, and tomato paste. Just barely cover with water, turn the heat to high, and cover. Once brought to a strong simmer, turn the heat down to medium-low.
When the potatoes are very soft and the zucchini has given itself to the soup, about 20 minutes, turn off the heat. Add the lemon juice and cilantro, and season to taste with salt. Using an immersion blender, purée the soup to a smooth consistency; alternatively, working in batches, pureé in a regular blender until smooth. The soup should shimmer in the ambient light. Serve hot or cold.