There is something to be said for simplicity–and something to be said for turning a classic like tomato soup, and giving it a twist. Every once in a while I’ll see a recipe, or hear of one and think to myself: I must make this (case in point: current cover of my new Saveur Magazine–look at it and you’ll know what I’m talking about). Last week, a coworker of mine came into work with a little Tupperware of soup that she insisted I had to make. It was so creamy and flavorful, so easy to make, and so befitting of someone who enjoys chickpeas as much as I do. And so, came the spontaneous lunch preparation of this soup, from lovely blogger Molly of Orangette. I’m an avid reader of Orangette–a blog that I find as comforting as curling up with a good book on the couch on a rainy day. In fact, Molly just published a book that I am anxious to get my hands on. Her recipes are often homegrown adaptations of things she’s tried at friends’ houses, restaurants and her own kitchen growing up.
Soup (as you can probably guess from my growing list on the index page) is one of my favorite things. There are so few dishes that are as versatile in flavor, texture, color and seasonality–and so easy to prepare. They vary from creamy to chunky, spicy to mild, decadent to healthy. Plus, soups have the added benefit of actually tasting better over the course of a few days. On a hot summer day, I love a fresh, chilled gazpacho. On a chilly night in the middle of winter, nothing beats a hearty minestrone to start a meal.
This particular take on a classic tomato soup, enhanced with fresh rosemary and nutty chickpeas is the perfect weekend (or weekday) lunch. I added my own twist to it by adding just half a teaspoon of smoked paprika, to give it a little warmth. I also halved the recipe, which turned out just fine (though next time, I best think farther ahead and make more, as it was quickly devoured by Matt and I, and then during an impromptu visit from my parents). My parents’ visit, I should mention, also brought a nice little container of red caviar into my fridge–and a great compliment to the soup (dark rye bread spread with caviar–or butter and caviar–if you want to go the super traditional route).
Chickpea-Tomato Soup with Fresh Rosemary
1 15-ounce can of chickpeas
1.5 tablespoons of olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped roughly
needles removed from 2 springs of fresh rosemary and chopped
1 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes (I used Muir brand)
1 pinch of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
ground pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika
2 1/4 cups of vegetable stock (I, like Molly, also used Imagine brand)
1. In a large sauce pot, heat the olive oil on medium heat and add the chopped rosemary and garlic, letting it cook for about 2 minutes.
2. Drain the can of chickpeas, rinse and set aside.
3. Add the can of tomatoes, salt, sugar, a bit of pepper, paprika, and half the can of chickpeas to the pot. Pour in the stock.
4. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer with a lid partly covering the pot, for about 20- 25 minutes.
5. Puree the soup in a blender, or use an immersion blender. Then, pour it back into the pot and add the remaining chickpeas.
I think this soup would also be delicious with a drizzle of homemade rosemary oil. Also, if I had to do anything differently, I would actually double the amount of whole chickpeas added to the soup–so maybe use 1.5 cans, reserving one whole can of whole beans to add to the soup once it has been pureed. I would also up the paprika to 1 teaspoon, or more, depending on how prominent you want the flavor to be.
Musical Pairings: Tomato Chickpea Soup and the Yeah Yeah Yeas
Kasey’s tomato chickpea soup isn’t as simple as it may seem: complex flavors mix together to form a fully satisfying, soul-warming meal. It’s Blitz, the third full length from NYC-based Yeah Yeah Yeahs, is similarly complex and also fully satisfying. Arguably, the best Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ album to date, It’s Blitz finds the band perfecting the styles and themes they first approached on the underrated (at least by Pitchfork – a music website in the habit of underrating excellent albums unless they are by Radiohead) Show Your Bones. Tracks like Dragon Queen, Zero & Heads Will Roll, Karen O and Co., successfully weave hints of disco and electro-pop into the garage-punk style the band previously perfected. My prediction is that this album will find a spot on many critics’ best-of lists at the end of the year. Head over to Canibal Cheerleader to check out Dragon Queen from It’s Blitz. -Matthew