Chick Pea, Lemon Confit & Nettle Soup/Stew
There is more to chick peas than hummus!
I love chick peas in any shape or form and I use them regularly as the basis for beetroot falafel burgers, falafel, hummus of course (also with some of those preserved lemons in), a wonderful Spanish Tuna and Chick Pea stew I first ate in the Basque country, tagines and a “straight from the tin” chick pea, tuna and red onion salad. I often use red lentils in soups but hadn’t used chick peas for a while so i dreamt up this soup.
This is one of those recipes where you can play a bit with the quantities and ingredients and use what is lurking at the back of your fridge up (because we all have days when we discover some wilted rucola or a sad dried up half lemon that was forgotten or baby spinach that isnt rotten but has kind of past its salad days) and make use of the tin of chick peas in your cupboard and those preserved lemons you made! Chick peas are protein and fibre rich and this dish can either be a veggie stew or thinned to be a soup.
Gadgets & Gizmos
None really just a good large saucepan. A stick blender helps but you can always mash the chick peas with a fork. Not having the “perfect” gizmos doesnt mean not cooking!
Ingredients – 4-6 servings depending on how hungry you are
- 300g of chick peas drained. One tin yields roughly 250g which is fine. Dried chick peas roughly double in weight when cooked but to be sure cook 200g dried. Place them overnight in water with a little bicarbonate of soda so that when you need to cook them they do not take long – 20-30mins. If you forget then cook them from dry very very slowly and gently making sure they do not dry out – 1.5-2 hrs.
- 200-300g of spinach leaves or chard or rucola or watercress or parsley or even nettles as I used here ie a does of chlorophyll
- 600ml stock (chicken or vegetable depending on your persuasion) if a thick hearty soup/stew or 1 litre for a soup. Chick peas are thirtsy creatures so dont be afraid to add more liquid if it seems a bit too thick.
- 1 lemon confit, skin chopped into very fine cubes and the pulp pulled out and pips removed. keep the pulp. If you don’t have preserved lemons use the juice and zest of 1 lemon.
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 2-3 cloves of garlic roughly chopped
- 300g carrots (helps the colour but pumpkin would also work) chopped roughly
- a little olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
Method 1 -Greenery blended in
Place the onions and carrots in the pan with a little oil and gently fry until translucent. Add the garlic (it burns easier than onions due to its higher sugar content) and just fry a little.
Add 3/4 of the chickpeas,the spinach, the lemon pulp and your liquid.
Bring to the boil
Leave to simmer for just five minutes (the chick peas are already cooked)
By putting the spinach in with the chickpeas I am going to blend it all together.
Now blend. and now add the little cubes of lemon rind for texture and flavour. Serve with the reserved chickpeas in the soup as well. I garnish with coriander and a harissa oil but parsley works as does your favourite chilli oil. Its also great with a liberal sprinkling of dukkah on top and a good olive oil drizzled over.
Method 2: The green stuff separate.
Omit adding the spinach.
Add the spinach with the cubed lemon rind. Switch off the heat. The spinach will cook in the retained heat of the soup. If using nettles which are slightly more needy in terms of cooking time, keep the heat going 2-3 minutes and then switch off and leave.
Serve with good bread for a nourishing and healthy light meal.
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