Israeli Fruit Soup – Marak Perot

To make 4 portions of anytime comfort food

Fruit soups are two a shekel in the Middle East – but most of them are sweet and get served chilled. Iran boasts several fine savoury fruit numbers, the most famous being pomegranate soup. But I rather like this Israeli recipe for its simplicity and wholesomeness. It can be enjoyed hot or cold, tarted up for dinner parties or dressed down for schlep-around-the-house days.

This recipe is partly based on a shop conversation. Little fragments of shop banter help the world go round, don’t you know. It is other-partly based on Arto der Haroutunian’s recipe for fruit and veg soup.

Ingredients:

  • 1½ bunches spring onions, chopped
  • 2 apples, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 100g green seedless (or seeded) grapes
  • 1 pear, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 300g cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 250ml apple juice
  • 250ml orange juice
  • juice of one lemon
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 250ml sour cream

Garnish:

  • knob butter
  • 1 tablespoon dried mint

Wooden spoons at the ready? Put two thirds of the spring onions and one and a half of the apples in a pan together with the carrots, celery, pepper, grapes, pear, toms and herbs. Add the fruit juices alongside enough water to cover the pan’s contents with 2-3cm to spare and bring the liquid to the boil. Cook gently for about 45 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender. Season to taste, whizz through the blender (or press through a sieve) and return the soup to the heat.

Next beat the egg yolks together with the sour cream in a bowl. Take a ladleful of the hot soup and whisk it into the cream mixture before pouring the whole lot back into the pan, stirring well. Heat through for a minute or so more and then take off the hob.

Melt the butter in a small frying pan and toss in the reserved spring onions, half apple and dried mint. Sizzle until the onions and apple are well browned and the mint has darkened. Spoon over the soup just before serving.

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