By Freya Bellin
One of the cold weather staples in my kitchen is a good, hearty soup — the kind that needs only a thick slice of bread to make itself a meal. This carrot and chickpea soup fits right into that category: it has relatively few ingredients, takes only about 30 minutes of active cook time, and is completely satisfying as a main dish. The smoked paprika smells amazing bubbling in a stock pot for hours. My chickpeas soaked for about 3 hours before I added them to the stock, and it required about 2 hours cooking time to soften them. If you remember, try soaking the beans overnight to reduce that time. Plus, you can reuse the soaking liquid – I used 2 cups of chickpea liquid and 4 cups of vegetable stock for the 6 cups of liquid needed. I ate a few bites of the soup before I pureed it and it’s as good chunky as it is smooth. Recipe from The Food Matters Cookbook.
Creamy Carrot and Chickpea Soup
Makes: 4 servings
Time: 1 to 2 hours, largely unattended
Chickpeas require quite a bit of cooking time (which can be shortened if you soak them first), but since chickpea broth is one of the most delicious liquids you can make, it’s worth it. I like to puree this Spanish-style soup, which makes it so smooth and rich you’ll swear there’s cream in it, but you can skip that step and serve it rustic style.
1⁄4 cup olive oil
2 onions, chopped
1 pound carrots, chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
Salt and black pepper
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons pimenton (smoked paprika)
6 cups vegetable or chicken stock or water, plus more as needed
1 cup dried chickpeas, rinsed, picked over, and soaked if you have time
1 cup orange juice
1⁄4 cup chopped almonds, for garnish
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
1. Put the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat; a minute later, add the onions, carrots, and garlic and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat as needed to keep the vegetables from burning, until the onions and carrots have colored, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the cumin and paprika and cook, stirring, for another 30 seconds or so.
2. Add the stock and chickpeas. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down so the mixture bubbles gently but steadily. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chickpeas are very soft, at least 1 hour; add more liquid as necessary so the mixture remains soupy.
3. When the chickpeas are very tender, add the orange juice, then taste and adjust the seasoning. Carefully puree the soup in batches in a blender or in the pot with an immersion blender. (You can make the soup ahead to this point. Refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for months; gently reheat it before proceeding.) Serve garnished with the almonds and parsley.