Sunday, September 04, 2011

Chickpea and Leek Soup

Do you know how much I love Jamie Oliver? I really do. He's one of my favorite celebrity chefs. I love that he uses fresh, simple ingredients to make delicious, healthy food. He uses full-fat cream and olive oil and butter and phyllo and whatever he wants, but it's still super healthy just because it's not overly processed with preservatives or milked of all of its vitamins. And portion sizes! He loves portion sizes! And therefore, I love him.

I've really been making stuff with produce mostly from the farmer's market and our CSA - not as much from the grocery store, finally. This soup has a bunch of local food in it too - potatoes, leeks, garlic. Love love love. I used canned chickpeas because I'm lazy. I know, I know.

So this was simple and quick. I served it with some thick whole-grain bread from The Flour Shop in Bethlehem. I am a fan. I thought it was delicious. Like I said, it was super-simple. The bread is delicious. I might make this again to freeze or for lunches.


Chickpea and Leek Soup
"The Naked Chef" by Jamie Oliver, p.21

"This is a recipe that my Aussie friend Bender found in some old recipe book. It is quick and easy to make and it tastes fantastic. The chickpeas go really creamy and the leeks go silky and sweet. These are just two simple flavors, and even though I'm a bit of a fresh herbs boy, this lovely light soup is very tasty."

12 ounces chickpeas, soaked overnight
1 medium potato, peeled
5 medium leeks
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
Salt and pepper
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
Parmesan cheese, grated
Extra-virgin olive oil

Rinse the soaked chickpeas, cover with water, and cook with the potato until tender. Remove the outer skin of the leeks, slice lengthwise from the root up, wash carefully, and slice finely.

Warm a thick-bottomed pan, and add the oil and the butter. Add the leeks and garlic to the pan, and cook gently with a good pinch of salt until tender and sweet. Add the drained chickpeas and potato and cook for 1 minute. Add about two-thirds of the stock and simmer for 15 minutes.

Now decide if you want to puree the soup in some sort of processor, or leave it chunky and brothy, or do what I do which is puree half and leave the other half whole- this gives a lovely smooth comforting feel but also keeps a bit of texture. Now add enough of the remaining stock to achieve the consistency you like. Check for seasoning, and add Parmesan to taste to round off the flavors.

This is classy enough for a starter, but I like it best for lunch in a big bowl, with a good drizzle of my best peppery extra-virgin olive oil, a grinding of black pepper, and an extra sprinkling of Parmesan.

Servings: 6

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