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Posts Tagged ‘chickpea soup’

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This “thing” is lingering!

Up and about, but not market-bound yet, so the choice of menu is limited for a few more days.

Yesterday I found myself fancying chickpea soup.

There was a bottle of chickpeas three-quarters full in the fridge.

We had plenty of onions, a couple of small leeks and one and a half large fennel bulbs in the crisper.

I put a third of the chickpeas in the small blender bowl with some of their liquid and whizzed them smooth.

Soffrito/battuto (what’s the difference?!*) next–the engine room of the soup–to give it some oomph.

So I chopped up 2 smallish onions, a couple of garlic cloves, one of the small leeks and the half fennel into small dice and sweated them in four tablespoons of olive oil in a medium saucepan for 20 minutes.

(If there’d been a carrot and a stick of celery I would have substituted them for the fennel and kept it for the next stage.)

While the soffrito was softening I chopped the remaining fennel and leek into larger dice and found a plastic box at the back of the fridge containing some cherry tomatoes that were still useable.

They’d been dunked in boiling water and were ready to peel.

I added the chickpeas–mashed and whole–to the pan and stirred it well together.

Then in went the fennel and leek dice and the halved tomatoes–squishing them a bit against the sides of the pan–and added a small stem of fresh thyme.

I squeezed a teaspoon of tomato concentrate from a nearly finished tube in the fridge, stirred it into the mixture and added a pint/500ml of vegetable stock and a tablespoon of chopped parsleynext time I’d add this to the soffrito.

Seasoned well with salt and freshly ground black pepper, brought it all up to the simmer and nearly forgot to add a small piece of the rind of parmesan cheese–cooked it all on for about 20 minutes until the fennel and leeks were soft to bite.

We swirled some olive oil into our bowls, ate it slowly and sighed!

*A battuto is a pile of chopped raw ingredients, in this case just vegetables but sometimes it involves smoked or green bacon.

It becomes a soffrito when the pile is cooked slowly in oil, fat or butter as the base of a soup or a casserole.

This serves 2/3 or 4 at a pinch.

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Easing back into the flow and with one foot–so to speak–still in Italy, I go to my comfort zone for guidance and authenticity.

my culinary Bible

my culinary Bible

Marcella Hazan’s first cookbook–still usable, though much patched-up and thumbed.

She doesn’t purée this nourishing and warming soup–though some do, she says.

I’ll go with roughly 1/4  whole chickpeas to 3/4  puréed.

I’ve also added a hint of fire! A couple of small dry red chilis left in the cooking tomatoes for five minutes and then fished out; or leave them in–but careful you don’t swallow them later.

I’ve used twice the liquid she suggests. Italians like to eat their soup almost solid.

3 garlic cloves–peeled but left whole

6 tbsp olive oil

2 tsp rosemary needles–chopped fine

8oz/200gm tinned (canned) tomatoes–chopped with the juice

14oz/400gm can cooked chickpeas–drained

450ml/1 pint stock–I use organic vegetable stock cubes

salt and pepper

  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan and sauté the garlic until it is well browned.
  • Take it out; it’s job–infusing the oil–is done.
  • Throw in the rosemary and stir once, then add the tomatoes with their juice.
  • Cook these down to a sauce–about 20 minutes, stirring often to avoid it burning.
  • Add the chickpeas and stir these around for five minutes to inform them with the tomato sauce.
  • Add three-quarters of the stock and stir it in.

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  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Cover the pan and cook for fifteen minutes.
  • Take off the lid, stir well and taste for salt.
  • Add more stock if you like.
  • Serve it piping hot with a swirl of best olive oil.

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