A Big Pot of Soup, always makes life better....
When one is still part of the work force, and not retired as I am, there is no choice but to wake up in the dark, and get up and out to work. And then sadly, when you leave your office or whatever your work space is, it will already be dark again. Winter solstice is December 21st, and soon the balance of dark to light will change. But right now, while Eurydice has returned to the underworld and will not emerge again until Spring, we will have our Chanukah Candles and Christmas Tree Lights, and the Geminids Meteor Showers that peak on December 14th, to light our way for the time being. Have a bowl of chickpea soup with spinach and breadcrumbs for supper on one of those days when you light your candles or light up your tree, or watch the night sky through a telescope, hoping to spot some shooting stars.
Lets Make a Pot of Chickpea Soup to Light Us Up from the Inside Out....
There is something so comforting about a big pot of soup. The ingredients of the soup pot make for a healthy and nourishing meal. The heat of the soup will warm us from head to toe. A soup pot yields so many portions, that some could be put aside in the refrigerator, to be eaten at leisure over the next few days. Other portions may be stored in containers in the freezer, to be used when there is hardly any food in the house, or when one is just too tired or too lazy to cook. If you set up a soup exchange with your friends, just as one might do with Christmas cookies, you could live on a variety of soups for a few meals a week, for the rest of the winter. You may follow this recipe for chickpea soup with spinach and bread crumbs, for your contribution to the soup exchange. Don't be surprised when all your neighbors ask you for the recipe.
Dear Readers, have a happy and healthy holiday season, and enjoy this recipe for chickpea soup with spinach and breadcrumbs!
Chickpea Soup with Spinach and Bread Crumbs
- THE CHICKPEAS
- 3 cups chickpeas soaked
- 1 carrot peeled
- 1 head of garlic sliced crosswise in half
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- Handful of parsley sprigs tied together with string
- THE SEASONINGS
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 4 to 5 tablespoons fruity olive oil
- 2 onions finely diced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano not Mexican
- Good pinch of dried thyme or 1 thyme sprig
- 3 garlic cloves minces
- Big bunch of spinach stems removed and leaves washed
- LAST STEPS
- Juice of 1 lemon or to taste
- 1 cup coarse bread crumbs moistened with 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Good fruity olive oil
- "A Provencal rose would be a match for this Provencal mixture of spinach chickpeas, plus the garlic, thyme and oregano."
Drain and rinse the chickpeas and put them in a pot with the rest of the ingredients and 3 quarts water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover, and simmer until the chickpeas are tender but hold their shape. They shouldn't get quite as soft as canned chickpeas. (This can be done a day or two ahead of time.) Season with a teaspoon of salt and set aside. If you'r inclined to, pinch the skins off the chickpeas and discard them.
Heat the oil in a second soup pot. Add the onions, oregano, thyme, and a few pinches of salt. Cook over medium-low heat until softened, about 15 minutes, occasionally giving them a stir. Add the garlic toward the end.
Using a strainer, lift the cooked chickpeas into the pot with the onions and discard the rest of the aromatics. Strain the liquid and add 6 cups, setting the rest aside for the moment. Add another teaspoon of salt, then cover and simmer for 25 minutes. Puree 2 cups of the chickpeas and return them to the pot. If the soup seems too thick, thin it with any remaining liquid. Taste for salt and season with pepper.
Wilt the spinach in a skillet in the water clinging to its leaves, then chop and add to the chickpeas. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, then taste again and add lemon juice to bring up the flavor. Crisp the bread crumbs in a skillet. Ladle the soup into soup plates, scatter bread crumbs over each serving, drizzle with a little additional oil and serve.