In my neverending quest to poke Winter in the eye, I have three stalwart friends: sharp cheese, sunny citrus, bright garlic. The holy trinity of deep winter, if you will. Rare, however, is the occasion where I manage to give them all equal prominence; usually one will take the wheel while the other two bicker in the backseat. So, I'm sure you can imagine my thrill when I devised a recipe that allowed all of them to shine equally.
I was inspired by Orangette's chickpea salad, a quick recipe that, in its simplicity, transforms the humble ingredients to something ethereal in its deliciousness. It being Winter, I decided to transform it from a salad to a soup; being me, I also opted to chuck in plenty of garlic, done up three ways: roasted, sauteed, and raw (I know, I know--raw garlic sounds kind of scary; but I promise you, it just adds a wonderful sharpness to the flavors).
The triple garlic action gave the soup a wonderfully heady, complex flavor (at once mellow and sharp), while the parmesan imbued a creamy saltiness that balanced it perfectly. The lemons sang without screaming. All the flavors were present and accounted for, clear without being overwhelming.
Next time, I think I might add a bit of sauteed pancetta--I think the salty chewiness of it would accent the rest of the flavors beautifully--but I would not go so far as to say that this tangy bowl of sunshine NEEDS such an accent; I'm just a little greedy that way.
Triple garlic chickpea soup
3x15 oz cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 heads garlic (1 roasted, one separated into cloves, peeled and sliced)
1/2c shredded parmesan cheese
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1-2 medium sized onions, peeled and diced
2 quarts water or stock
- Preheat your oven to 350.
- Slice the top off one of the heads of garlic; drizzle it with olive oil and wrap loosely in foil. Meanwhile, rinse and drain one of the cans of chickpeas; toss with some olive oil and salt and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until the garlic is soft (about 1 hour) and the chickpeas are golden but not burnt (about 20 minutes)
- Meanwhile, heat some olive oil over medium-low heat in a heavy-bottomed saucepan; saute the onions until translucent and then add half the sliced garlic. Sautee for another minute or two, until everything is extremely aromatic.
- Add the remaining two cans of chickpeas to the saucepan and let cook for a moment with the onions.
- Add the water (or stock); bring to a boil then reduce heat. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Add lemon juice, parmesan cheese, roasted garlic, and the remaining garlic.
- Using a hand blender, puree the soup until a nice smooth consistency, adding more water/stock if it seems too thick
- Add roasted chickpeas
- Serve with a garnish of lemon zest and parmesan cheese.