Monday, February 2, 2009

Sunshine in a bowl: Triple garlic chickpea soup


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
  1. Preheat your oven to 350.
  2. 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)
  3. 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.
  4. Add the remaining two cans of chickpeas to the saucepan and let cook for a moment with the onions.
  5. Add the water (or stock); bring to a boil then reduce heat. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Add lemon juice, parmesan cheese, roasted garlic, and the remaining garlic.
  7. Using a hand blender, puree the soup until a nice smooth consistency, adding more water/stock if it seems too thick
  8. Add roasted chickpeas
  9. Serve with a garnish of lemon zest and parmesan cheese.


Phoo-D said...

Now that looks easy and wonderful!

kickpleat said...

hooooeeee, this looks delicious!! and simple. perfect.

Katy said...

there's no limit to how much garlic i can eat. this sounds amazing!

pigpigscorner said...

The triple garlic sounds fantastic!

Joanna said...

Oh. Yum. I loooove roasted garlic! I wonder if you could add some tahini to this as well, and turn it into a hummus soup of sorts. Might have to try it.

Shannalee said...

What lovely photos! And what a lovely post! (I am always up for poking winter in the eye, particularly if food is involved.)

carollee03 said...

I was immediately inspired to make this after reading. Just had two bowls for dinner, yum! Thanks for sharing!!

ms.gourmet said...

can smell the garlic from here!

Emily said...

yum. i'm going to try this tonight.