Monday, October 01, 2018

Creamy Italian Chickpea Soup

Hello again!

Posting a quick recipe because it’s an often-requested oldie, and a huge cool-weather favorite from back in my "always-rushing-carpool-driving-PTA-volunteering-frazzled-soccer-mom" days....
We did a lot of Crockpot soups!!

Have you tried cooking beans or chickpeas from dry?
They cook up delicious and velvety, completely different from canned. And, (yes, you've likely heard it before, but...) it's SO easy (especially in an InstaPot or Crockpot) and ridiculously cheap.
I still use a Crockpot for this recipe. I’m old school that way.
Just throw stuff in, turn it on, and walk away.
Sorry-not-sorry there’s no InstaPot instructions.
Yes! I have one, but just haven’t bothered converting this recipe.
I'm sure those of you who are die-hard fans can figure it out.
Another reason to love this recipe? It requires no soaking or anything remotely complicated!!

This soup does NOT look like much, but the texture is magic. Wonderfully rich, satisfying and creamy.
Perfect "comfort food" on drizzly, damp days. (Which would be October to May around here!)

Add some greens while heating through at the end, if you want. I do that, now that I'm cooking for two of us, but back in the day, my kids preferred "plain" soup with sourdough croutons (that's OK, you blend the soup and end up hiding all sorts of veggies in it, anyway)!

Creamy Italian Chickpea Soup

7 cups of your fave vegetable broth (make your own, or jazz up canned or boxed broth a little, good-tasting broth = good soup!)
1 pound dried garbanzos/chickpeas
1 carrot or sweet potato, diced (no need to peel unless you want)
1 onion, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, chopped fine
*optional: 2 cups chopped any other veggies of your choice - turnips, leeks, squash, potatoes, mushrooms, whatever is in the 'fridge
3-5 cloves garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp lemon juice or 1 tsp lemon pepper seasoning
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 package tempeh “bacon” of your choice, chopped fine
 2 Tb olive oil
Aprox 3 more cups broth, water, plant milk or tomato juice to dilute soup
salt and pepper

To Serve:
Cracked Black Pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Croutons or Scallions if desired

Place the water, chickpeas, carrot, onion, clery *optional veggies if desired, garlic, lemon juice, oregano and basil in a 4 quart slow cooker/Crockpot. (Or in a stock pot on the stove)
Cover and cook in Crockpot on high heat for 4 hours, or low heat for 8 to 9 hours, or until chickpeas are tender. (Or a low simmer on stovetop for 4+ hours, adding water as needed until chickpeas are soft)

After chickpeas have cooked, taste for salt, if the broth was salted you won't need it, otherwise add some now, then turn off and set aside.
(At this point you can refrigerate the chickpeas until ready to make soup - just bring to temperature in a pan on the stove or in crockpot again when ready).
So... when you're ready to finish your soup, in a medium skillet, heat the oil and add the tempeh "bacon".
Cook until the tempeh pieces are lightly browned and crispy, set aside.
Remove about 2 cups of the chickpea/veggie mixture and set aside.
Taste chickpea/veggie mixture in Crockpot and season with more salt and pepper as needed.
Then purée the chickpeas/veggies from Crockpot until they’re thick and smooth, using a high powered blender or with immersion blender.
If the chickpeas have sat a while and cooled, they've likely thickened up and you'll need to add additional water, plant milk, broth or tomato juice if you prefer some tomato in your soup, to get the thickness you prefer for soup.
I use an immersion blender to blend the chickpeas right in the crock pot.
If  using a blender, make sure the chickpeas have cooled some, and do this in batches (so as to not have a heat and steam explosion).
Heat blended soup to serving temperature, stir in the whole chickpeas you had set aside earlier - let soup come to simmer. (Either in crockpot or you can heat in a pan on the stove at this point if you want...)
If desired, add several handfuls chopped spinach, baby arugula or chard at this point. Simmer a minute until just cooked.

Just before serving, top with tempeh "bacon" bits.
Serve topped with some cracked black pepper, croutons, scallions or a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, if you want to be all authentic. And a glass of wine if you're also an always-rushing-carpool-driving-PTA-volunteering-frazzled-soccer-mom!!