Carrot and Chickpea Soup

Two days ago I completed my Written exam, and yesterday I found out I passed!   There are so many things I withheld from myself this summer, particularly in the last month before the exam.  I moved into a new apartment September 1st, but I didn’t allow myself to really put the apartment together, because I knew it would be an absorbing activity that would take too much of my time.  Also, I haven’t been cooking.  I mean, I’ve been feeding myself, but there has been more macaroni and cheese than I want to think about.  And I certainly haven’t been taking any photos of it.  So, when I finished the exam, rather than laying down, I launched into a frenzy of moving furniture around, unpacking boxes, and looking through cookbooks.  I bought a new cookbook at the Borders liquidation sale earlier in the summer, but hadn’t had a chance to cook from it yet.  It is The Food Matters Cookbook by Mark Bittman.  I decided that my first meal would be a soup.  All of September, I sweated in my apartment under a pile of articles, wondering why it hadn’t cooled off yet.  Fall finally showed up just in time for my exam, and I had to put on a sweatshirt.  It even rained a bit.  Also, I recently bought myself an immersion blender, and I wanted to put it to use.  So, I chose a creamy carrot and chickpea soup, with Spain-inspired flavors.  It turned out really tasty, but it gave me some trouble.  For some reason, soaking the chickpeas was described as an optional step in the instructions.  I can now tell you with certainty that this is not optional, unless you have 5 hours to spend cooking the soup.  It ended up being a two-day endeavor for me, as the chickpeas were still not soft yesterday evening after 4 hours of cooking.  So, in the end, this is a great soup, especially garnished with toasted almonds and a little flat-leaf parsley.  It’s warming and richly flavored with orange, cumin and paprika, which taste like Spain.  It’s good to be cooking again!

Carrot and Chickpea Soup
(from The Food Matters Cookbook by Mark Bittman)

1/4 cup olive oil
2 onions, chopped
1 pound carrots, chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
salt and black pepper
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
6 cups veggie or chicken stock
1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup chopped almonds, for garnish
chopped fresh parsley, for garnish 

1. Put the oil in a large pot, and add the onions, carrots, and garlic and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat as needed to keep the vegetables from burning, until the onions and carrots have colored, about 10 to 15 minutes.  Add the cumin and paprika and cook, stirring, another 30 seconds.
2. Add the stock and chickpeas.  Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down so the mixture bubbles gently but steadily.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chickpeas are very soft, at least 1 hour; add more liquid as necessary so the mixture remains soupy. **As I mentioned, this part took me considerably longer.  I imagine if you soak the beans first, this time estimate is correct.**
3. When the chickpeas are very tender, add the orange juice, then taste and adjust the seasoning.  Carefully puree the soup with immersion blender.  Serve garnished with almonds and parsley.

One response to “Carrot and Chickpea Soup

  1. I’m glad to see you are back in the kitchen!

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