Monday, October 23, 2006

Chickpea and Swiss Chard Soup

Sometimes a recipe suprises you. You scan the list of ingredients and think, "Sure - why not!" and make the recipe. And then, you're surprised. You re-read the ingredients, searching for the source of the deliciousness, and just have to accept that this particular recipe is more than the sum of its parts.

That happened to me on Saturday when I made this soup. The ingredient list - not so impresssive. I only had one carton of vegetable broth, and so I had to add water which I strongly-will-go-out-to-the-store-to-buy-more-but-not-on-this-day prefer not to do with soups. And yet, it was amazingly tasty. My batch came out thin, despite the pureeing step, but the broth was garlicky and spicy in a quite pleasing way. And Swiss chard and chickpeas - could it be more healthy?

We're enjoying the leftovers, I'll say that much. And, if this soup serves 4, then we're talking some really big people. Maybe our bowls are smaller than most, but we've already had six servings from this soup and I'm not even up to the second Tupperware container yet. That's a lot of soup. And I do like soup.

Chickpea and Swiss Chard Soup
Jeanne Lemlin
Simple Vegetarian Pleasures

serves 4 as a main course - if you're a giant. Serves at least 8 in a bowl of soup/roll/cheese kind of way.

Jeanne's notes - The building of layers of flavor in thick vegetable stews makes them especially inviting, but equally appealing to me are simple soups with just a few ingredients whose flavors are transported in tasty broth. Although you can enjoy this soup just after making it, it will benefit from being made a few hours in advance so the stock can really develop the garlicky undertones.

My notes - I used 4 cups of veggie stock, and 4 cups of water. I was unexpectedly heavy handed with the crushed red pepper (darn that spoon/sprinkle confusion), and added close to a teaspoon. I also used about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. And, I used my hand blender to puree some of the soup.

1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
8 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
8 cups vegetable stock, store-bought or homemade
2 tablespoons of tomato paste mixed with 1/2 cup of water
4 cups freshly cooked or canned chickpeas (2 16 0z cans)
8 cups of finely shredded Swiss chard leaves
1 teaspoon salt

1. Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes. Mix in the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes, and saute for five minutes or until onion is tender.
2. Add the stock, tomato paste mixture, and chickpeas and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a lively simmer, and cook for ten minutes. Stir in the Swiss chard and salt, and simmer ten minutes.
3. Remove 2 cups of the soup and puree it in a blender or food processor. Return it to the pot.


kickpleat said...

yum, this looks great!

Vicki said...

love those 2 ingredients - together & w/your description sounds wonderful. i enjoyed reading here & found you over @

helios said...

Kickpleat -

I thought this recipe might bring you out of hiding! :) Seemed like the kind of soup you might like.

Vicki -

Welcome! Thanks for sharing that link - I had no idea that site existed but had fun checking it out. Thanks for stopping by!

meg said...

Hey, it's just me. I am looking for veggie inspiration and knew to whom to turn. This sounds really good, thanks. :) Hopefully we'll see ya next weekend.

Anonymous said...

This is an amazing (and amazingly simple) recipe that really lives up to your "hype"!

Anonymous said...

Yes, this is great! Thanks so much. We have new raised veggie beds, so I'm vegetable gardening for the first time in decades, and planted rather too much chard. At least, I was thinking it was too much, but soup to the rescue! (I chopped up the stalks and added them with the beans and stock--turned out just fine.)

Anonymous said...

This is an excellent soup - I added a little less garlic, but included some bay leaves. I left out some of the stock and blended it all - I like a thicker soup and it was a great consistency. Will make again if I can get my hands on some more swiss chard!

Anonymous said...

Made this tonight, the teenagers pretty much inhaled it - having no idea what they were eating, just knew it was good! Pureed about 1/2 of it.
Lots of swiss chard in the garden so this is great! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Every time I make this, I devour every spoonful. It is so simple yet so complex! I like brothy soups so I don't puree, and I also use both leaves and stalks. This to me is comfort food at its finest.