There’s nothing like a bowl of soup when you’re feeling under the weather. Especially a hearty soup, one that warms the bones, fills the stomach and gives you that feeling of deep satisfaction and contentment before you crawl under the covers to get a good night’s sleep… Whether it’s chicken soup or…
Now, I love chickpeas in any form. I can eat them boiled and in a salad, or simply with some red chilli, lime and salt. or as hummus, or made into a delightfully spicy Chana Masala.
But I felt the sniffles coming on, so soup it was, and to keep the contentment quotient high I figured I’d go both, the chickpea and chicken soup route.
This is my version of a Creamy Chickpea Soup with home-made low-fat chicken stock. But if you prefer to keep the soup vegetarian, you can use a vegetable stock instead. I’ve also used low-fat milk instead of cream. So you have a protein packed meal, full of goodness and taste, without the unnecessary calories.
This is a very simple and easy to make recipe. The trick however lies in slow cooking the chickpeas, twice over… First boiling them (about 2 cups of the chickpeas) in about 3 1/2 cups water. You can add in a quarter cup each of diced celery and carrots, and one small potato, cubed and peeled. Cook till the chickpeas and potatoes are just done.
(And yes… before you do any of this, don’t forget to pre-soak the chickpeas before you boil them, for a minimum of 4 hours or overnight so that they plump up. Then drain and rinse well before boiling.)
Here are the ingredients:
1 1/4 cup dried chickpeas (soak for 4 – 8 hours in 3 cups water)
1 small potato – cubed
3 tablespoons olive oil + extra to drizzle when served
1 medium red onion – minced
4 – 5 large cloves of garlic – minced
1/2″ piece of ginger – minced
1 small sprig of curry leaves
2 large ripe tomatoes – blanched and puréed
1 teaspoon toasted ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3 1/2 – 4 cups low fat chicken stock
1/4 cup low fat milk
1 1/2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
1 teaspoon freshly milled black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh coriander – chopped fine (+ extra for garnishing)
*(optional 4 rashers bacon – cooked and crumbled)
Once the chickpeas are done, drain off the liquid. Reserve about a cup of the chickpeas and purée the balance along with the potatoes (you can add in the celery and carrots as well) in a food processor along with a 1/2 cup of warm chicken stock, until smooth.
In a large pot, keeping the flame very low, sauté the onion with the minced garlic and ginger in olive oil until just translucent, before adding in the curry leaves and the tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 – 7 minutes.
Add in the paprika, the cumin and about a half teaspoonful of freshly milled black pepper. Cook for 10 minutes before adding the puréed chickpeas and the balance chicken stock. You can put in the salt at this stage, then cover and cook on a slow flame for about 50 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally. If you prefer a thinner soup, you may add an additional half cup of stock halfway through the cooking process. Finally add in the reserved whole chickpeas, balsamic vinegar and sugar and cook for an another 20 – 25 minutes.
Just before serving, add in the milk (you can substitute the milk for 3 tablespoons of fresh cream), a few more twists of the pepper-mill and the chopped coriander, Stir well to allow all the flavours to intermingle.
Finish off the soup with a drizzle of olive oil, and a some of that lovely green coriander… or you could sprinkle on some crispy bacon bits instead, and serve hot with warm freshly baked Chilli Chive n Cheddar Bread Rolls.