Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Chickpea, Tomato & Bread Soup

Happy Halloween people! I'm waiting for my little buddy to wake up from his nap so I can surprise him with the jet pack I made to go with his killer astronaut costume. I hope he loves it! What is everyone doing to celebrate today? We're walking across the street to a little Halloween party with hay rides.

I cooked this soup over the weekend for my parents. Little did I know it was one of the few true meals we had leftover for the hurricane so the pot is licked clean! I like this soup because it is a classic chickpea, tomato, and bread soup but uses a few unexpected techniques - mashing the chickpeas slightly before adding, calling for the underused fennel bulb, and finishing with a drizzle of pesto. I may eat all soup with a drizzle of pesto after this aha moment.

Before the storm, we visited The Farm Institute so Dylan could be a Wee Farmer for the morning. The farm staff help the kids feed old tomatoes to the hogs, collect eggs from the hen house, and go right in the chick pens. It was totally over the top adorable.

Chickpea, Tomato & Bread Soup 
from Plenty: Vibrant Recipes from London's Ottolenghi (one of my all time favorite books)
serves 4-6

1 large onion, sliced
1 medium fennel bulb, sliced
about 1/2 cup olive oil
1 large carrot, peeled, cut lengthways in half and sliced
3 celery stalks, sliced
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup white wine
one 14-oz can Italian plum tomatoes
1 tbsp chopped oregano
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
2 tsp sugar
4 1/2 cups vegetable stock
salt and black pepper
2 large slices stale sourdough bread (crust removed, use favorite GF bread for GF)
2 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
4 tbsp basil pesto (recipe below or bought)

Preheat oven to 350. Place the onion and fennel in a large saucepan, add 3 tablespoons of the oil and sauté on medium heat for about 4 minutes. Add the carrot and celery and continue cooking for 4 minutes, just to soften the vegetables, stirring occasionally. Stir in the tomato paste and stir as you cook for 1 minute. Add the wine and let it bubble away for a minute or two.

Next, add the canned tomatoes with their juices, the herbs, sugar, vegetable stoic, and some salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then cover and leave to simmer gently for about 30 minutes.

While you wait, break the bread into rough chunks with your hands. Toss with 2 tablespoons oil and some salt and scatter in a roasting pan. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until thoroughly dry. Remove from the oven and set aside.

About 10 minutes before you want to serve the soup, place the chickpeas in a bowl and crush them a little with a potato masher or the end of a rolling pin; you want some to be left whole. Add them to the soup and leave to simmer for 5 minutes. Next add the toasted bread, stir well and cook another 5 minutes. Taste the soup and add salt and pepper liberally.

Ladle the hot soup into bowls. Spoon some pesto in the center, drizzle with plenty of olive oil and finish with fresh lemon juice, if you like.

Basil Pesto:

1 cup basil leaves
1/2 cup parsley leaves
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 garlic cloves
1 cup olive oil

Place the basil, parsley, pine nuts, Parmesan and garlic in a food processor and blitz to a paste. Add the oil and pulse until you get a runny pesto. Pour into a large bowl and keep at room temperature until meal time.

1 comment:

  1. This looks so amazing! I've been craving hearty tomato stews lately so this is perfect.


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