Sunday, November 30, 2008

Chickpea Soup With Golden Spices for "Souper Sundays"

Yes, it is "Souper Sunday" time again, time for a soul-satisfying bowl of homey goodness. I am especially excited about this week's soup which I found when perusing Mollie Katzen's Vegetable Heaven the other day; Chickpea Soup with Golden Spices. Molly describes it as "resembling a heated-up version of humus", and being a big fan of both the chickpea and hummus, I thought it sounded interesting and good. (Speaking of being a fan of the chickpea, time to test your inner TV sitcom geekiness: On what TV sitcom was the immortal line, "God Bless the chickpea!" uttered and most importantly by whom? Obviously my geekiness quotient is high because I quote this line along with many others often. I will post the answer in the comments tomorrow). But back to the soup, our whole reason for 'Souper Sundays."

Chickpea Soup With Golden Spices
Mollie Katzen's Vegetable Heaven

2 cups uncooked chickpeas, soaked for at least 4 hours (or four 15-ounce cans)
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups minced onion
4 Tbsp minced garlic
2 tsp salt
1 carrot, diced
a few threads of saffron (not too much--literally a pinch)
2 tsp lightly roasted cumin seeds (dry roasted or sauteed in a little olive oil)
2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Black pepper and cayenne to taste
2-3 Tbsp sesame tahini (optional)

Optional for the top:
2 medium ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
a little minced cilantro, parsley or mint
a drizzle of Chinese sesame oil

Place the soaked, uncooked chick peas in a large pot and cover with water by at least two inches. Bring to a boil, then partially cover and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours, or until the chickpeas are very soft. (If you are using canned chickpeas, rinse and drain them and set aside).

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven. Add the onion, half the garlic, half the salt, and the carrot, saffron, cumin seeds and mustard. Saute' over medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until the carrot begins to soften.

Add the chick peas and 4 cups water. (You can use their cooking water if there is any left). Bring it to a boil, lower the heat, and cook, covered, for about 20 minutes. Add the remaining garlic and salt, along with the lemon juice, black pepper and cayenne to taste. You can also add some sesame tahini at this point, if desired.

Puree' the soup in a blender or food processor until fairy smooth. (You might want to add a little extra water if it seems too thick.) Taste to adjust seasoning.

Serve hot, with a spoonful of diced tomato, a small amount of minced cilantro or mint, and possibly a drop or two of Chinese sesame oil on top of each serving, if desired.
Yield 6-8 servings

Molly notes: "If using dried chickpeas, you can soak and cook them well in advance, This soup stores well in the refrigerator or freezer (if packed in an air-tight container)."

Notes/Results: I started with dried chickpeas, soaking them the night before, because I think you end up with a deeper flavor and better texture than canned, but if you don't want to mess with it, canned should work fine. I didn't make many changes to the recipe but it calls for a water base to the soup and I used a low-sodium vegetable stock instead and I did add the optional tahini because I like it so much in hummus. (It really gave the soup a creamier texture once it was added). There are a few steps to the recipe but it is easy enough to do and well worth it. If you don't have an Immersion Blender, I will say it again--ask for one for Christmas! The fact that you clean one bowl and the bottom part of the "stick", and don't have to mess with hot soup in a blender makes it so worth it!

I served my soup with some whole wheat pita chips for some crunch and my new favorite way to eat tomatoes (thanks to Tyler Florence); roasted in the oven with a bit of chili oil and salt. I topped it with a drizzle of sesame oil, some chopped parsley, a sprinkle of paprika for color and a few chickpeas, I saved out of the soup for a garnish.

This is a DELICIOUS soup, creamy, hearty, lots of layers of spices and flavors. You may be thinking either "Deb, I don't know if I want my hummus hot!" or "Couldn't I just heat a bowl of hummus and call it soup?" and to that I say--"Just try it!" and "No, it wouldn't have the depth of flavors that this soup has!" If you are a chickpea fan, I think you will love this soup and bless that chick pea! This soup is worth the price of the cookbook alone in my mind (although last week's Savory Corn Cakes help!) I will make this soup again.

With the holiday season officially upon us, it is quiet in the Souper Sunday kitchen today, but I can always count on Natashya from Living In the Kitchen With Puppies to drop by and hang out. She has a incredible looking "easy-peasy" Asian Noodle Bowl to share. She makes her noodle bowls when she needs something hot in a hurry and it is full of healthy veggies and shrimp to cure whatever ails you. Thanks Natashya, as usual your soup looks delicious and I am happy to have your terrific company!


Feeling soupy? (Or noodle-y, or stew-y, or using up those Turkey-day leftovers and want to drop by and share your comforting creation?) We'll be here every Sunday for awhile. Just send me an email or leave a comment and let me know you'll be stopping by before Sunday and I'll add you to the round up so you can share your souper creation. You can make and post the soup any time, I just round them up on Sundays.

Have a great week!


  1. hummus...warm or cold sounds delicious and a nice way to fill-up on fiber too.

  2. Beautiful colours. I love the tomatoes.
    We are big chickpea fans - although I don't recognize the quote. Seinfeld?
    I think my daughter would love this.

  3. I got my book for Cooking the Books today! Can't wait!


    PS: I SWEAR I will be stopping by soon to catch up on everything!

  4. Looks lovely, I suppose it is the cool season in Hawaii too (even though it would seem warm to us on the mainland).

  5. Kat--yes i forgot to mention all the fiber in this baby!

    Natashya--Tyler's tomatoes are fab!

    Cat--yea! Start reading! Hope you like the book!

    Joie de Vivre--we get cooler days and nights right now but not really "cold" like it can get on the mainland.

  6. Answer to chickpea quote:

    "God Bless the chickpea!" is from Friends. George Clooney and Noah Wyle play doctors, who have a double date with Rachel and Monica. During an awkward moment (Rachel and Monica are fighting). Noah comments on how good the hummus is and my man George responds with "God Bless the chickpea!"

    If you guessed correctly give yourself 10 points and a pat on the back!


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