Friday, March 14, 2008

Chickpea & Leek Soup

I ran across this recipe, in printed email format circa 2004, and thought about making it for a dinner party towards the end of the month. I was drawn to the chickpeas, one of my favorite foods. I also thought it was interesting to use them, vs potato which is more standard to see with leeks in soup. AND, this soup got the stamp of approval from my friend Jamie, who sent me the email (not to be confused with Jamie Oliver, who created the recipe).

So, I wondered... Would it be fancy or delicious enough to stand alone as a starter for my dinner party? Did I think it would blend well with my planned main course? And, what the heck do leeks taste like (they're always in something, but not the main flavor, so I really wasn't sure- onions?)?

All good questions, therefore, a trial run was called for.

Chickpea & Leek Soup
Altered slightly, from Jamie Oliver (aka- the other jamie, not my friend. Although, maybe that's too hasty a comment - maybe he'd like to be my friend...)

1 can of garbanzo beans
5 medium leeks (click here to see how to clean and prep leeks)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
Pinch of salt
2 teaspoons pepper
3 cups vegetable stock
Grated parmesan, to taste (I used about 3 tablespoons, plus a sprinkle for presentation)
Extra-virgin olive oil

Remove the outer skin of the leeks, slice lengthways from the root up, wash carefully and slice finely (the thinner, the better). Discard the upper, greener portion of the leek leaves.

Warm a thick-bottomed pan, and add the oil and butter. Add leeks and garlic to the pan, and cook gently with a small pinch of salt until tender and sweet. Add drained chickpeas and cook for one minute. Add 2/3 of the stock and simmer for 15 minutes.

Now decide if you want to puree the soup in some sort of processor, or leave it chunky and brothy. I puree most of the soup with a hand-blender directly in my soup pot, but leave plenty of big chunks for texture.

Lastly, add enough of the remaining stock to achieve the consistency you like. Check for seasoning, adding pepper and parmesan to round off the flavors.

Final consensus: This IS the moneymaker. Great winter comfort food. I say: mmm, mmm, ye-ahh! (Ok- enough 'subtle' hints. Check out Rilo Kiley, if you haven't already. They're on repeat on our iPod, love it.)

The chickpeas added the thickness to the soup I was hoping for, and the leeks tasted a bit like asparagus (wasn't expecing that!). Was a delicious combo, and will definitely make this one again.

No problem serving this soup as a starter with some good chunky bread, although it's warming up so fast here, an end of March dinner party may be too late to serve this yummy warm soup. We had it for lunch, as J.O. recommended: he likes it for lunch with a good drizzle of his best peppery extra-virgin olive oil, a grinding of black pepper, and an extra sprinkling of parmesan.

Guten appetit!


Lauren said...


Melanie said...

I finally have some time to make my rounds to the UBP. Sorry I'm a bit late, and thanks so much for stopping by my blog.
I love your blog, I'm so glad I stopped by. Hope you enjoyed the party!!
Our Happy Happenings
Livin' With Me

Anonymous said...

That sounds delicious - thanks for sharing!