Friday, September 5, 2008

Chickpea soup with porcini mushrooms

My instincts must have been right-on when I was craving soup. Not only did I get a cold earlier this week, but the weather turned pretty cool today -- at least by Indiana summer standards -- so soup was definitely in order.

This is the second impressive recipe I've tackled from Lidia's Italy. I love the book because it's packed with interesting tidbits about culture, how the regions in Italy embrace different dishes, and so on. The first recipe I tried was her beef goulash, and oh man, I could eat that every day. The recipes are fairly time-consuming, though, so thankfully that's not a possibility.

The chickpea soup with porcini mushrooms took a total of two and a half hours, from start to finish. That's key. Because the chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) and the mushrooms cook for almost two hours together, so the texture becomes what Lidia describes aptly as "velvety."

I cut the recipe in half here; hers makes 12 servings, and because it's just my husband and I eating it, that was overkill. Below is how I interpreted her recipe.

Chickpea soup with porcini mushrooms (serves 6)

1/2 pound dried chickpeas, rinsed and soaked overnight covered by about 4 inches of cold water

1/4 cup dried porcini mushrooms

1/2 small onion, coarsely chopped

1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped

1 clove garlic

1/4 cup fresh parsley

1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary

1.5 teaspoons coarse sea salt, divided

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

3/4 cup canned plum tomatoes, hand-crushed

1 pound fresh mushrooms -- I used shiitake, portabello, and white button

black pepper, to taste

optional (and I highly recommend!): some fresh parmesan, very thinly sliced

1.) Drain and rinse the chickpeas and put them in a soup pot, along with 2 quarts of water. Bring to a boil, add the dried porcini, and leave lid partially covered while that gently bubbles.

2.) Put the onion, celery, fresh herbs, garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt into a food process, and proces into a paste-like consistency. (Lidia explains, by the way, that this paste is used in various sauces, stews, and soups in food in Maremma, Italy. It's called a pestata until it's browned in a skillet, at which point it becomes a soffritto. See next step.)

3.) Put the oil in a skillet, and cook the paste over medium-high heat until it starts to brown and stick to the skillet (about 4 minutes).

4.) Add the crushed tomatoes, and scrape the paste into the soup. Cook, uncovered, for about an hour.

5.) Add the fresh mushrooms and 1 teaspoon of salt. Let it continue to cook another 45 minutes to an hour, or until the broth is thick and the chickpeas tender.

6.) Pour soup into serving bowls and if using parm, sprinkle some of that on top. Drizzle with a little olive oil, and serve with warm crusty bread.

Today's question: What's your favorite kind of soup? I have so many... I'll have to get my Mexican corn chowder and chicken mulligatawny recipes up here someday...


Kate said...

cream of green chili, gazpacho.....

Nicole said...

Cream of green chili? Yum! I will have to look that up and try it.

Courtney said...

Limestone Grille had this cream of carrot soup that was divine! Also-vegetable barley soup and seafood chowder (is that a soup?). Remember the Trojan Horse "soup" sausage and rice? It was more like gravy!

Nicole said...

Mmm...dreaming of soup with sausage... Strangely, I don't remember the Tro Ho soup, but it sounds good. For the chickpea soup, Lidia says you can add a little Italian sausage to the pot toward the end, and I thought that sounded so good. I may try that with spicy sausage in the winter.

jelymo said...

my favorite kind of soup would have to be matzoh ball. when i'm really sick, really sad, or both at once i like to have a big ol' bowl of it. i'm stoked about the garbanzo soup--vin has an aversion to mushrooms, so i'll try it to see if he likes it too. i need something else to do with garbanzos besides the tired ol' hummus, falafel, and chana masala.

prof.grey said...

I would have to say that Pasta e Fagioli is my favorite soup. Nothing warms the soul like it. Thanks for posting Lydia's Chick Pea and Porcini Mushroom soup recipe. I saw it on her show today and searched the internet for the recipe, you had the winner! Cindy

Shanna said...

In the midst of making this right now. I've just added the last pound of mushrooms, coarse sea salt, and set the time for 45 mins. I don't remember it being this dark on the show. The broth seemed almost translucent. In any case, what I've tasted so far is wonderful. :)

Deirdra Doan said...

Thanks for posting this...I just saw her on TV making this and wanted to make it too. I am a Veggie Girl.

I make a great lentil soup. The main thing is using a bag of shredded cabbage for sweetness, carrots, onions, celery,zucks, spices and a little seaweed for minerals...hmm hmm....good.

antman25 said...

I've been searching for this recipe. Just saw the episode a few weeks ago. Thanks for writing this up.

I will let you know how it turned out!

Thanks again.