Sunday, February 22, 2015

Chickpea & Spiced Pita Soup

Hello again everyone! While the calendar may be creeping toward spring, the reality is, winter still has a vicious hold upon most of the region. While that is bad news for most things (the air HURTS YOUR FACE! Why do we live in a region where the air hurts you face?!) it does mean that soup season is still very much in place - which is always a welcome thing.

So, let's take full advantage of soup season by cooking up a healthy, filling and most importantly - warm - soup.

The Recipe: Chickpea Soup With Spiced Pita Chips
Original Recipe From: Food Network Magazine - January 2015 Issue

What You'll Need:

1/4 Cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
2 Stalks Celery (Chopped)
2 Carrots (Chopped)
1 Large Onion (Chopped)
2 x 15 Ounce Can Chickpeas (Drained, rinsed)
1 x 15 Ounce Can Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes with Green Chiles
1 Tablespoon Cumin
1 1/2 Teaspoons Ground Coriander
2 Pocketless Pitas (In a pinch, pita pockets work as well)
Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Preheat your oven to 325.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium high heat. Once the oil begins to shimmer, add the onion, celery and carrots along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the veggies have softened.

Next, add 6 cups of water, the chickpeas, tomatoes, 2 teaspoons cumin, 1 teaspoon coriander and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally until the mixture has thickened (this takes roughly 20 minutes). After 20 minutes, mash the chickpeas with the back of a large spoon - you don't have to mash them all or evenly completely mash them - just look to "break" them down a bit.

Meanwhile, slice your pita bread into wedges and toss them with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of cumin, 1/2 teaspoon coriander and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Spread the wedges in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until the wedges are golden brown and crispy (roughly 8 to 10 minutes).

Just before serving, stir in the lemon juice and top with the pita chips. Enjoy!

The Results:

This recipe is a perfect example of a symbiotic culinary relationship. On its own, the soup is a bit bland, with lackluster texture - while on their own, the pita chips are a bit pungent and a little intense - together, however, the two make a beautifully balanced soup that finds great harmony in both flavor and texture. In short, this is a tasty soup that keeps the calorie count low. Just don't skip the pita chips - you'll be sorry!

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