Keti Sujashvili from Kazbegi in northeastern Georgia gave me this soup on a rainy June
afternoon and I fell in love with it. When she told me the recipe, I knew it would be one of
my very favorite ones in the entire book. It is so easy to make and won’t take you longer than
30 minutes, but it packs a real punch of flavor. Once when I cooked this I forgot to add the rice
and I didn’t miss it, but do add it if you prefer thicker soups. If you use the eggs, they will add
body to the soup, but add the eggs only if you’re intending to eat it all on the day of cooking.
¼ cup (2 oz/50 g) unsalted butter
2 potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
sea salt flakes
2 tablespoons mild olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, scrubbed and coarsely grated
2 bell peppers, 1 red and 1 green, cored, seeded, and sliced
2 large ripe tomatoes, grated (see Tip on page 167), skin discarded
1/3 cup (2½ oz/70 g) basmati rice (optional)
generous pinch of red pepper flakes
2 eggs, lightly beaten (optional)
2 small garlic cloves, finely grated
1 bunch of tarragon, leaves picked and chopped
Heat the butter in a saucepan over low heat, add the potatoes and coat them in the butter, then add 2 qt (2 L) water and a generous pinch of salt. Cook for about 5 minutes.
Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat, add the onion, and cook until soft and starting to go golden, about 7 minutes, then add the carrots and cook until they also start getting a little color, too, about 3 minutes.
Finally, add the peppers and sauté for a few minutes, then add the tomatoes. Keep stirring from time to time, so as not to let the mixture burn.
Add the sautéed vegetables, and the rice if using, to the potatoes and stock and cook until the rice and potatoes are tender, 10 minutes.
Lower the heat so that the stock is barely bubbling, add the red pepper flakes, and then gradually add the eggs, if using, whisking them in thoroughly.
Finally, whisk in the garlic, add the tarragon, and take the soup off the burner to serve.