Friday, March 27, 2009

Tuscan Chickpea Soup - Winter Warmth

The winter is not over yet! Spring is near, but there are still plenty of cold nights to warm yourself over a bowl of soup.

I like this recipe because it's filling, without feeling heavy. Considering the ease of work involved and the fairly limited ingredients/spices, it has plenty of flavor. Pair it with a salad and crusty bread, you'll have dinner ready in 30 minutes.

I made a couple of slight adjustments based on other reviewers notes. Most important is to use a fairly good balsamic vinegar. There are occasions to use cheap vinegar, but this is not one of them. I also added the cayenne for a little more kick. It's not spicy, but I thought it added some extra 'umph'.

This one is definitely a winter staple, and I hope you have the chance to try it before the cold weather disappears!

Tuscan Chickpea Soup
adapted slightly from Cooking Light

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
7-8 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups water
1 teaspoon minced fresh or 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 (15 ounce) cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
2-3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (use a fairly good vinegar)
1 teaspoon cayenne
6 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the water and the next 5 ingredients (water through tomatoes), and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes.

Place 2 cups soup in a blender or food processor, and process until smooth. Pour the pureed soup into a bowl. Repeat procedure with 2 cups soup. (I used my hand blender, directly in the soup pot - much easier! It also allowed me to puree most of the soup yet still keep some chunks of garbanzo bean for texture.)

Return all pureed soup to pan. Stir in the vinegar and cayenne, and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Spoon 1 1/2 cups soup into bowls; sprinkle each serving with 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese.

More warming chickpea soups:
- Chickpea and Tomatillo Soup, from Cookworm
- Chickpea Soup with Spinach, Tomatoes and Basil, from Kalyn's Kitchen
- Chickpea Soup with Moghrabieh (Lebanese Couscous), from FatFree Vegan Kitchen
- Tunisian Chickpea Soup, from The Well-Seasoned Cook

Guten appetit!

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