From Too Many Chefs -

May 25, 2004
Bender's Chickpea and Leek Soup

leek soup.JPG
This recipe actually came out of my Jamie Oliver cookbook, The Naked Chef. Jamie himself gives credit to his friend Bender who found it in an old cookbook. So I guess, Bender, Jamie and I can all only take credit for recognizing a good soup when we see one. This one is quick and easy to make, tasty and really original. I have added a few touches here and there of my own, but the real beauty of it is the mixture of nutty chickpeas and silky leeks. It makes a subtle combination that really is delightful. Also, it gives me an excuse to use my beloved immersion blender...

Bender's Chickpea and Leek Soup

I've decided to attribute this one to the mysterious Bender because I don't know where he found the recipe and anyway it's a silly name.

5 leeks
12 ounces / about two cups chickpeas, either soaked overnight and cooked until soft or canned
a couple of cloves of garlic
4-5 cups of vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan plus extra for garnish
a couple of Tbs butter and a drizzle of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbs chopped fresh thyme
2 Tbs chopped fresh parsley
crispy bacon bits for garnish

Clean and slice the leeks in ringlets. I usually slice the leeks halfway down the center before slicing and then throw the strips in a colandar to wash. This way you can make sure of getting out all the sandy grit, although you won't have pretty rings. Then again, this recipe doesn't really show them off even if you do. Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed stock pot with the olive oil and add the garlic, thinly sliced. Once they begin to soften, add the leeks. (If you add them both together it will be more difficult to properly cook the garlic as it will get caught up in the leeks.)

Once the leeks are soft and smelling good, add half the broth and the chickpeas. At this point you have to decide how you want to serve the soup - as it is, puréed or semi-puréed. JO recommends the latter and I tend to agree. If you have an immersion blender just give the soup a few whizzes until you have a thick broth but about half of the chickpeas are still whole. (Alternatively, you can put half the soup in a blender or food processor and blend.)

Add the rest of the broth and bring to a boil. Add the grated parmesan, thyme and parsley and taste for salt and pepper. Let it simmer for at least 15-20 minutes.

Serve with shaved or grated fresh Parmesan and bacon bits and some good crusty bread.

Note on my aberrations: The last three ingredients in the list are mine. If you want to stay true to Jamie and Bender you should leave them out!

Posted by Meg in Sussex at May 25, 2004 7:47 AM | TrackBack

I was lucky enough to get a taste of that fantastic soup, and I will say this : do not omit the crispy bacon bits, they're a wonderful addition!

Posted by clotilde on May 26, 2004 at 7:14 AM

Thanks, Clotilde! What a shame there wasn't a write-up for all the other great dishes on that occasion, including your masterful terrines! The bacon is actually the Critic's contribution...if there is a way to make it more delicious and less healthy he can usually find it.

Posted by Meg in Paris on May 26, 2004 at 11:11 AM

Actually, I'm working on a writeup of all the recipes, and am gathering all of them, It will include a link to yours!

Posted by clotilde on May 26, 2004 at 11:22 AM

Great! There were quite a few I wanted but I wasn't sure who made what!

Posted by Meg in Paris on May 26, 2004 at 11:40 AM

I made this tonight with fake bacon (Smart Bacon brand) and accompanied by fake b-l-t's. It was described by the peanut gallery as "orgasmic".

I thought it was pretty darn good myself. Great recipe, Meg.

Posted by Barrett on May 26, 2004 at 10:07 PM

Cool! That makes TWO recipes I know someone has tried...I'm well on my way to being a celebrity chef now!

Posted by Meg in Paris on May 28, 2004 at 9:52 AM

Are you including the goulash? Jace at our friendly hosting company said they tried it and found it delicious.

Posted by Barrett on May 28, 2004 at 11:10 AM

Hello Meg,
I still remember the taste of the one you made last saturday. It was really good. Have a good week-end.

Posted by Pascale on May 29, 2004 at 4:47 PM

Yes, that was the goulash, Barrett!

Thanks, Pascale!

Posted by Meg in Paris on May 31, 2004 at 9:55 AM

Good recipe, I made it the original way then added crab meat and prawns at the end. Totally good chowder...

Posted by Ben on April 7, 2005 at 2:38 PM

Ben, sounds like a great twist - I'll have to give it a go myself one of these days. For some reason I rarely think of adding seafood to soups, but it sounds delish!

Posted by Meg in Paris on April 11, 2005 at 8:59 AM

i htought this was a great recipe at first, but my relatives hated it. they sed that it was too much chik peas. i would try it without them

Posted by Jency on June 19, 2005 at 9:59 AM

I substituted onions for the leeks, (couldn't find 'em at my lame Kroger) added some diced carrot to the sweat. Just for grins, I added some frozen spinach lettign it simmer for about 10 minuts. It turned out nicely

Posted by Andrew Ford on January 22, 2006 at 7:08 PM