December 31, 2004
Almost Moosewood Chickpea Soup

As far as I'm concerned modern vegtarianism began with Mollie Katzen's Moosewood Cookbook. Katzen's charming hand drawn illustrations enliven recipes that are a far cry from the dark days when a vegetarian diet consisted mainly of big salads and nutloafs. Today top restaurants and chefs cater to the vegetarian and light palate and I think Mollie Katzen deserves a lot of the credit.

I'm a big fan of her second book The Enchanted Broccoli Forest. From that book, I prepared a chickpea soup that is filling and nutritious without being heavy and greasy. This soup will fill you up and give you energy to make it through a cold winter night.

I've tweaked it a very little bit to eliminate the optional and expensive saffron while retaining the flavorfulness it brings. This dish is tasty the first night it's made but delicious after a night in the fridge letting the flavors develop.

I've also changed the directions and reorganized the ingredients list a bit to make it easier to make quickly, but the recipe is still Ms. Katzen's Galician Garbonzo Soup and the credit for the mix of ingredients go to her.

Almost Moosewood Chickpea Soup
Stage 1 Veggies
3 - 15 oz. cans garbanzo/chickpeas drained and rinsed - 1 can set aside for stage 3
4 1/2 cups water - divided into 2 cups for stage 1 and 2 1/2 cups for stage 3

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions cut to 1/2" dice
6 medium cloves of garlic minced - half set aside
1 potato peeled and diced
1 carrot peeled and diced
1 celery stalk diced
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Step 3 Spices
2 bay leafs
2 teaspoons mustard powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 teapsoons tumeric
2 teaspoons paprika
cayenne/Tabasco, black pepper, salt to taste

Step 4 Finishers
Reserved can of chickpeas/garbanzos
1/2 cup frozen or fresh green peas
1 medium tomato peeled and seeded

Stage 1:
Blend two cups of water with two cans of garbanzos/chickpeas in a blender until smooth. set aside.

Stage 2:
In a stock pot, heat oil and add potato, onion, celery, carrot, 1/2 the garlic, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Sautee over medium heat, stirring frequently for 10 minutes. Near the end of the 10 minutes, add the red wine vinegar and stir to deglaze the pan.

Stage 3:
Add the puree from Stage 1 plus all the spices, plus the remaining 2 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Stage 4:
Taste and adjust cayenne, salt and pepper balance. If you don't have cayenne, you can use Tabasco sauce. Don't overdo it with the hot stuff. Add the tomato, remaining can of chickpeas and 1/2 cup of fresh or frozen green peas and the rest of the garlic to the soup. Cover and simmer for an additional 5-10 minutes before serving.

If you would like to try this Ms. Katzen's original way, eliminate the paprika and tumeric in favor of a 1/4 teaspoon of saffron and don't add the red wine vinegar until Stage 4. I think it makes sense to use the vinegar to deglaze the pan, and I was very happy with the results of the change.

I highly recommend you go to the store and take a look at the Moosewood Cookbook and the Enchanted Broccoli Forest if you haven't had the pleasure of these two fabulous introductions to a vegetarian cuisine that isn't boring.

Posted by Barrett in Maryland at December 31, 2004 3:53 PM | TrackBack Print-friendly version

How do you replace saffron? It's kind of distinctive.

Besides, why would you want to replace saffron? I'm just mad about saffron, she's just mad about me... They call me Mello Yello. Quite rightly.

Posted by on January 1, 2005 at 10:42 AM

Replace may not be the real word. "Substitute" may be better. At least I'll get my washing done.

Posted by barrett on January 1, 2005 at 11:45 AM

Great soup, and a great cookbook. My 7 year old son will actually eat the broccoli when we make the enchanted forest because then he is a giant eating trees.

Posted by Tito on January 1, 2005 at 9:24 PM

This is one of my favorite soups. One alteration that I have made to this recipe is to substitute vegetarian "No Chicken" broth for the water. It makes a slighty richer more satisfying soup. Perfect for a winter supper. In fact, I am planning on making this soup tonight.

Posted by Rita on January 3, 2005 at 12:15 PM

Rita, I love that "No-Chicken" broth. It's replaced the golden veg broths as my standard.

Posted by barrett on January 3, 2005 at 2:36 PM
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