Potaje Tangérois aka Tangier-Style White Bean and Chard Soup

According to my The Scent of Orange Blossoms cookbook this soup is a specialty of Jewish families from Tangier. I do not know if that’s true, but this soup is most certainly delicious and therefore special to me.

I have a confession though!  I messed up my writing order! My OCD side is wigging out, but thankfully I have a chill side that’s saying, whatever man, it’s not really a big deal. Thankfully I’ve been real good at listening to my chill side these days.

I joke all the time about being OCD, but in reality I just have, maybe, slight tendencies. This girl from my past was being kind of a snarky bad word to me once about saying that whilst we were in a the bathroom. I made a joke about how I needed to put toilet paper on the seat because I’m OCD. So she make a snarky comment about how one of these days I was going to offend an actual OCD person.

So that side note is for you, snarky comment girl. Who made you the OCD police anyway? I don’t get certain people.

Let’s move on to the subject at hand. What you will need to make this soup is 6 cups of beef stock, 1 pound of beef shank meat, 1 small beef marrow bone (I omitted this), 1 1/2 cups of small navy beans, 2 bay leaves, 8 cloves of peeled garlic, 1 carrot, 2 bunches of Swiss chard, 2 teaspoons ground cumin, 2 teaspoons paprika, 2 1/2 teaspoons salt, cayenne pepper. 5-6 tablespoons of olive oil, and harissa.

Your first step to make this is the harissa, unless you chose to just buy some. I recommend making it though. It’s not hard at all and it’s cheaper to make it then to buy it.

To make the harissa you need 8 large or 16 small dried chilies, 1 roasted red bell pepper, 4 cloves of garlic, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1/2 cup of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of cumin.

I have a suggestion for the chilies that turned out well for me. I ended up buying a mixed dried chili mix from the Mexican aisle at Von’s and used about 4-5 tablespoons of it. It was easier to do then soaking and cutting a bunch of chilies. Also finding dry chilies is not the easiest thing to find at Von’s.

Most of this recipe is putting everything into a blender. The only exception is the bell pepper. The bell pepper will need to be roasted in the oven, skinned, and then cut into strips. The garlic also needs to be peeled, but other than that, you just throw everything in the blender until it’s nice and smooth. After doing so, you will have some tasty homemade harissa, which you will add as a topping for the soup.

For the actual soup, the first step is to combine the beef stock, beef (which needs to be cut into cubes). beans, bay leaves, 6 of the garlic cloves, and the carrot (which should be sliced and peeled). Bring to a boil and skim off the foam. Once you’ve skimmed off the foam, reduce the heat to a nice balanced medium, cover, and let cook for about two hours.

I have to note that I kept having to add water, because the beans were soaking up all the beef stock. This didn’t affect the overall taste, thankfully, but it is something to be aware of.

While all of this is cooking, you can prepare your chard. This recipe said you would need two pounds of chard. That was too much. I ended up using one and a half of two bunches I bought from Von’s. I think you could even get away with just one. For your chard, though, you will cut the leaves into ribbons and the stems into 1 inch pieces.

You can add the chard to the rest of the mix once the beans have softened and you will leave them in there for about 10-12 minutes. Once that time is up, you will add 2 cloves of garlic, cumin, paprika, salt, and cayenne. Cook that for another 10-15 minutes.

Once that’s done you can serve, but as you do, you garnish each serving with some olive oil and harissa.

I had a nice surprise when I made this soup because my good friend Megumi stopped by before a rehearsal of hers. She will be performing in a production about the creator of Astro Boy. Her rehearsals are near where I live and she lives about ten miles north of me. So it was a good excuse to hang out. I let her have some of the soup and she liked it so much I copied the recipe for her.

I don’t normally have anyone to show off my hobby to so when people actually try and like what I cook, I get very excited. So thanks to Megumi for being sweet and brave enough to try it out! Also if you live near LA you should go see her show.

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Megumi approved!

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