"Chickpea soup has an earthy flavour and nourishes the soul," says Kathy Tsaples. "It's definitely a favourite with family. Crusty bread is a must with this soup, and feta and olives are good too." You'll need to begin this recipe a day ahead to soak the chickpeas.
- 150 ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 500 gm dried chickpeas, soaked in cold water overnight
- 1-2 celery sticks, thinly sliced
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- Juice of 1 lemon, or to taste
- 2 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Sprinkling of dried oregano
- 1Heat the olive oil in a saucepan, add the onion and sauté until it starts to colour (8-10 minutes).
- 2Meanwhile, drain the chickpeas, rinse them and drain them again. Shake the colander to dry the chickpeas as much as possible, then add them to the pan. Turn them with a spatula for a few minutes to coat them well with the oil.
- 3Add the celery and bay leaf, then pour in enough hot water to submerge the contents of the pot by about 4cm. Bring to the boil. Skim off any white froth that rises to the surface using a slotted spoon. Lower the heat, add freshly ground black pepper to taste, cover and cook until the chickpeas are tender (1¼-1½ hours).
- 4When the chickpeas are perfectly soft, add the lemon juice. Mix well, then season to taste. Cover the pan and cook gently for 5-10 minutes more, stirring occasionally.
- 5To thicken the soup slightly, take out about two cupfuls of the chickpeas and put them in a food processor. Make sure the chickpeas are broken up but remain slightly rough. Stir this into the soup in the pan and mix well.
- 6Add the parsley and oregano, then taste the soup. If it seems a little bland, add more lemon juice, salt and pepper. Serve in heated bowls and offer extra olive oil at the table for drizzling on top of the soup.
Note I often cook this soup in a pressure cooker, which is particularly useful if I've forgotten to soak the chickpeas. If you have one, use it. This recipe is from Sweet Greek: Simple Food & Sumptuous Feasts ($39.95), published by Melbourne Books, and has been edited.