I first read about this recipe in the Guardian Sunday magazine when I was living in London. It is a recipe Giorgio Locatelli actually describes as ‘Ancient Chickpea Soup’ or ‘Zuppa di Cicerchia’ but that sounds too steeped in Italian ancestral memory for me. I call mine just ‘chickpea soup’ or ‘zuppa di ceci’. This is another of my mainstays–my kids have been eating this since they were babies.
I rustled up some of this soup as the past few nights have been a little chilly, but this is also perfect for a summer meal with some crusty bread and a salad. Try it. It is truly scrumptious.
400g dried chickpeas (or two cans chickpeas)
750ml / 26 oz vegetable stock
2 cloves garlic
1 onion chopped finely
2 large sticks celery chopped finely
2 large carrots chopped finely
a small bunch of chives or parsley (optional)
salt and pepper
1. I recommend using dried chickpeas always. They are more nutritious than their canned counterparts. Soak the chickpeas overnight or use the 1-hour quick soak method (boil rapidly for 10 min, turn off heat and soak for one hour). Cook the chickpeas for an hour or so till they are tender. Skim off any foam. Now… you can use two cans of cooked chickpeas if you feel you don’t have time to mess around with the dried stuff, but if you have time over the weekend, cook a large batch of beans and freeze them in portions to use in various recipes.
2. Strain the chickpeas. Take half of the chickpeas and puree in a blender. Add some vegetable stock or chickpea water to thin it if you need to. Get it really smooth and wet. This is the secret ingredient to this amazing soup!
3. Heat up a generous glug of olive oil and gently cook the garlic, onion, carrot and celery until really soft. Add in the vegetable stock, the pureed chickpeas and the whole chickpeas. Cook for about 20 or 25 minutes on a low simmer and add in sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Add some chopped chives or parsley but it is delicious without too!