06 August 2014

Bostneulis Supi: A Delicious Summer Soup

Have you ever lived in a rental apartment or house?  Why is it that the overwhelming majority of them have the most awful stoves ever made?  It seems like the worst stoves are just reserved for rental units.  And it's not just here.  I've seen unlevel, uneven-heating stoves in Houston, in Moscow and most recently here in the Twin Cities.  But now I am so happy to say that we have bought our first home, and it has a gas stove!  I was so tired of electric stoves that this was really one of the must-haves when we were looking.  It is so nice to be able to regulate the heat properly!  It's still not quite level, but overall, this 20-year-old gas stove works better than any electric stove I've used up to this point.

So without further ado, I will share a soup that I just made on it!

Bostneulis supi is a Georgian summer soup that I've borrowed the recipe for from Darra Goldstein's The Georgian Feast.  It takes advantage of fresh summer vegetables and even fruit, but can really be made any time of year.  




To make it, you will need the following:

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 2 medium onions
  • Olive oil
  • 2 pounds boneless leg of lamb
  • 1 pound green beans
  • 2 large tart apples (Granny Smith works well)
  • 1 Anaheim chili
  • salt and pepper
  • water
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • parsley
  • cilantro





So the first thing you will want to do is cut the eggplant into 1-inch cubes.  Then arrange the pieces in a single layer on a paper towel-lined plate.  Generously salt the eggplant and let it sit for 30 minutes.  (This will get rid of any bitterness in the eggplant.)











Little Bit likes to hang around just in case I drop anything.  She, like the puppies she so loves, will try just about anything that falls...











Meanwhile, heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large dutch oven.  Chop your onions and then saute them until they are golden.

(Did I mention how much I love my gas stove?  Sigh...)









While the onions are busy browning, you can work on getting the lamb trimmed of any excess fat and sinewy bits.  Cut the meat into roughly 1-inch cubes.














When the onions look like this:

















It's time to add the meat.









Brown the meat and then add the eggplant (after wiping off the juices and excess salt, of course!), cover and sweat on low heat for 15 minutes.











Now, if you're using fresh green beans, is a good time to enlist some help.  Trimming beans gets a little tedious after a while, but at least it's only one pound.  I found some fresh locally grown green beans at a farm stand here, but you can use whatever you can find, including frozen.











It takes a bit more convincing now to get the ever-so-important-and-busy (but somehow always-bored) Bulldozer to help now, but here he is!














So to trim a green bean, you take the bean,















And break off the tip ends (discard them) and snap (or cut) it into bite-size pieces.

Easy!














And done.  Thank you, Bulldozer!












By now, your meat/onion/eggplant mixture has probably sweated enough.  It won't look pretty at this stage, but it will get better!










Seed and chop an Anaheim chili (or leave the seeds in if you like a little more spice.  I take them out because of Little Bit, who is not quite 18 months old and not as adventurous yet...).  Also peel, core and chop your tart apples.















And add all three to the pot!














Pour in about a cup of dry white wine.  I used a Sauvignon Blanc, but any dry white will do.  Add water to cover, bring to a boil and simmer, covered, for about an hour.  Basically, you want the meat to be fall-apart-tender, so just simmer it until it gets to that stage.  It took about an hour for me.





Finely chop a decent-sized handful each of parsley and cilantro and stir it into the soup.  Reserve a bit for a garnish, if you like.


Serve with good, crusty bread and enjoy the flavors of summer!