Sunday, April 11, 2010

Leek, Saffron and Chickpea Soup for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

Looking for an easy, lighter soup this week, I found this Leek, Saffron and Chickpea Soup in "Zest" by Michele Cranston. It's a simple soup, with just a few ingredients but a great way to use some of the saffron and chickpeas in my pantry and take advantage of some leeks I just bought. It was good until I added the lemon juice from the lemon zested for the recipe and some chorizo "croutons" which elevated it to great.

Leek, Saffron and Chickpea Soup
"Zest" by Michele Cranston
(Serves 4)

2 Tbsp butter
15 saffron threads
3 leeks, cleaned and finely diced
1 lemon, zest peeled into thick shapes
1 carrot, peeled and grated
3 Tbsp roughly chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
1 litre (4 cups) chicken stock
1 x 400 g (14 oz) tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Heat the butter and saffron threads in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the leeks when the butter begins to bubble and cook until they are soft and transparent. Add the lemon zest, carrot and parsley and cook for a further minute before adding the stock and chickpeas. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Notes/Results: A great little soup--it goes together quickly and is filling without being heavy. The leeks and carrots add a nice sweetness which plays off of the richness and slight bitterness of the saffron, and the chickpeas add good texture. The lemon zest did add some acidity and brightness to the dish, but I thought the soup's flavor really benefited from adding the juice of the lemon too. There is something about the pairing of saffron and chorizo that really works so I sliced some thinly and sauteed it in just a touch of olive oil to serve as "croutons" on top of the soup. This soup could be made vegetarian using olive oil in place of the butter, veggie stock and omitting the chorizo topping and using a bit of paprika instead.

Now let's see who is in the Souper Sunday Kitchen this week:

So nice to see my friend and co-host of Cook the Books, Rachel, The Crispy Cook here this week. Rachel combined her loves of reading and cooking for an exotic Persian Lentil Soup with Sumac and Yogurt inspired by "Pomegranate Soup" and "Rosewater and Soda Bread" by Marsha Mehran. Having read these two fun foodie novels myself, I love her interpretation. Rachel says, "Pomegranate Soup contained a recipe for Red Lentil Soup, but I didn't have a couple of the ingredients in my cupboard, so I turned to this similar recipe and made up a batch of comforting soup for a delicious Middle Eastern meal last week. Topped with a blob of Greek yoghurt, a sprinkling of ground sumac and some fried shallots from the Asian Market (not so traditional, but very tasty), this was a winning recipe."

A warm welcome to Tigerfish of Tezcape--An Escape To Food, joining us from California and making her first appearance at Souper Sundays this week and with a savory Chinese (Napa) Cabbage Soup Coooked with Pork Bones. Tigerfish says, "My variations with Chinese cabbage, also known as Napa Cabbage, Wong Bok cabbage or 大白菜 (Da Bai Cai) include using them as a vegetable wrap (Note: Comparing to round cabbage, I prefer Napa cabbage as wraps as they take shorter time to cook), having them steamed, or stir-fried and using them in soups. Napa Cabbage can make a soup very tasty as it has tonnes of natural sweetness. It is also known as "king of vegetable" with its high vitamin and mineral contents. It has high dietary fiber, especially digestible fiber after being cooked. This is one easy, tasty and nutritious soup that everyone can make at home." Nice to have you with us!

Reeni from Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice is here and says, "I have a healthy, hearty, satisfying recipe today for Coconut Chicken Soup with Wild Rice. It is not the traditional chicken & rice soup you might remember from your childhood. This is a modern, re-invented version with coconut milk and edamame. Of course the more familiar, classic flavors like carrots, celery and corn are still there. Coconut milk has tons more flavor than milk, half & half or heavy cream and adds a rich, silky 'body' to this soup. The wild rice is kind of chewy, nutty and since it's a whole grain a whole lot better for you than white rice. I know that some of you will think the cinnamon and nutmeg are strange additions. But it's just a pinch. No one will detect their presence and it does nice things for the cream flavor."

Eastern Canada has apparently not heard that it is spring, so as a cure for some cold weather and snow that popped up, Natashya from Living in the Kitchen with Puppies made soup. She says, "Snow. You heard me. Yesterday it snowed.A week ago I was at the beach with the pups, having my first soft-serve of the season and yesterday it snowed. Mother Nature is a tease - I guess I should just be happy that there was no accumulation.. but my happiness does not come that easy. Well, I suppose it has to come back at some point, and today is looking a little more promising than yesterday.. but it is still soup weather. So today I have Broccoli Soup with Chive-Cayenne Oil, perfect for pairing with some rustic country bread. Enjoy!"

We have one lone salad this week from Kim at Stirring the Pot, and what a gorgeous salad it is! About this Mache Salad with Cilantro Ginger Vinaigrette, Kim says "Awhile back, I bought a cookbook that was completely dedicated to salad dressings. Hungry for salad, I located that salad dressing cookbook, dusted it off and got creative. I had some Mache, or Lamb's Lettuce, in the refrigerator as well as a bunch of cilantro, a good-sized chunk of ginger, and some fresh-squeezed lime juice left over from my lime pudding cakes. I spotted this recipe for Cilantro Ginger Vinaigrette and put all of those leftover ingredients to good use in this recipe for salad dressing. Making my own salad dressing isn't something that I do too often, but I think that is going to change."

Great creative soups and a wonderful salad from good friends, old and new. Thanks to Rachel, Tigerfish, Reeni, Natashya and Kim for joining in this week. If you have a soup, salad or sandwich you would like to share just click on the Souper Sunday logo on the side bar for all of the details.


Don't forget to read my cookbook review and enter my giveaway for a chance to win a copy of a wonderful new cookbook: "The Mediterranean Diabetes Cookbook" by Amy Riolo. Filled with delicious recipes, this book is for everyone who loves good, healthy food.

You can get the details for how to enter here. (There are three different ways to enter for three chances to win!)

This giveaway is open to everyone and the deadline for entering is Monday, April 12th.

Have a happy week!


  1. Thanks so much for the lovely round-up Deb. Now, please fax me some chorizo croutons, they sound like gifts from the gods!
    Love that saffronny goodness. :)
    ..and I am going to have to look up those fun foodie novels...

  2. I'm with Natashya! You won me over with the chorizo croutons:D The soup looks delicious.
    Thanks for another wonderful roundup!

  3. Hello, I love soups and it is great to discover this blog event. I hope to be back frequently :D

    Thanks for your round up.

  4. Rebecca--thank you! ;-)

    Natashya--mahalo--I'll put them in the mail. ;-) The books are fun --especially the first one. ;-)

    Kim--Thanks! I'll trade it for some of your salad! ;-)

    Kat--they were yummy! ;-)

    Tigerfish--Thanks for joining in--I hope to see you back at SS again. ;-)

  5. I got nervous when you wrote "this soup was good until..." but then I read chickpeas and chorizo and knew that all would be well in the world. Great round-up!

  6. I love the idea of chorizo croutons!

  7. Another great round-up. Your croutons are outstanding and the soup looks wonderfully delicious. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  8. Anything with chorizo croutons on top has to be fabulous! A great roundup. The pattern on Natashya's soup is so pretty!

  9. Another great round-up, Deb! And looking through, I'm reminded that I haven't made soup in ages. Need to do something about that this week!

    Love, love the looks of that leek, saffron and chickpea soup. That nice, crispy chorizo makes such a wonderful crouton!

  10. c'est très appétissant et surement savoureux, j'aime beaucoup
    bonne soirée

  11. Your soup looks excellent! Love those chorizo croutons! Such a delicious touch. Mouth-watering round-up, as always, thanks for including me!

  12. This is a lovely soup beautiful to look at too! I cook with chickpeas a lot (obviously) but don't use them in soup that often! That recipe would change that!

  13. Wow, what a nice hearty, it makes a great meal :-)

  14. I do like the idea of lemon juice bringing contrast to the leek, saffron and chickpea soup. Love the roundup, I can't believe there is snow in Canada right now!

  15. Another lovely roundup as per usual here at the Kahakai Kitchen. Love that Napa Cabbage Soup recipe!

  16. Thanks everyone! The crispy chorizo croutons really added a lot and would be great in any bean or legume soup. ;-)

  17. As always another great line up Deb. Love Souper Sundays!

  18. Deb your soup looks awesome - chickpeas and chorizo are a favourite combo for me. I love putting chorizo into all sorts of things - like bacon, its a great way of getting max flavour and texture without a lot of meat. I love Michelle Cranston too - I have her book "Luscious" which is one of my favourites.


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