Monday, January 18, 2010

Chickpea Vegetable Soup

I love the IDEA of vegetable soup.  Delicious brothy goodness, a cornucopia of fresh, healthy vegetables, some protein from beans....and most importantly a brief respite from my usual buttery fare.  My biggest problem with vegetable soup in REALITY is that it often is not filling enough to become a meal for me on its own.  They always seem too light, watery, and bland for me to forgo some buttered toast or meatloaf as an accompaniment.....or an ice cream sundae desert.

Rafe was studying for finals, and I decided that I wanted to be absent during this stressful period...I wanted to let him focus on getting his work done - and I wanted to do my Christmas shopping sans cranky boyfriend.  So, on the last weekend before his finals, I decided I should try my hand at making a hearty vegetable soup so he would have a big pot of food to reheat after long nights at the library....and I would have lunches for the week at work....classic win-win.

In order to make my soup rich and hearty - I employed some of the same cooking methods that I used when I am making a roast or a braise.  I roasted veggies, and layered rich flavors using tomato paste and red wine in the dutch oven.  What resulted was a deeply flavored veggie soup that was warm and filling.

1lb carrots, peeled and diced
1.5 large onions, coarsley chopped
.5 onion, small dice
6 cloves garlic
1 celery stalk, diced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/4 cup red wine
1 16 oz can chopped tomatoes
6 cups broth - chicken, beef, veggie (I used chicken and vegetable because it is what I had on-hand)
1 16oz can chickpeas
1 16oz can corn
1 package frozen spinach
1 cup of soup pasta (I used ditalini)
cayenne pepper
olive oil

Preheat the oven to 375.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Place diced carrots, coarsley chopped onions and whole cloves of garlic on the baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of smoked paprika.  Roast in oven for 30-45 minutes or until golden and caramelized on edges.

In a large dutch oven heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium.  Add the .5 diced onion and celery.  Cook until translucent, stirring often.  Add the garlic and roasted veggies and cook until just fragrant.  Next, add the tomato paste.  Cook tomato paste done, stirring constantly.  The sugars in the paste will start to carmelize and stick to the pan - this is good.  But pay attention - because the paste can burn quickly.  Once the paste is very reduced, and coating the pan - pour in your red wine and deglaze - scraping up the tomato paste or 'fond' (fancy cooking term I learned in Momofuku).  Cook the wine and reduce for 3-5 minutes.  Then add your chicken broth, chopped tomatoes, chickpeas, spinach, lemon zest, and bring to a simmer.  Add the soup pasta, and cook until tender.

This soup is delicious served with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
It's very hearty and filling - perfect for these cold winter nights!


  1. I love soup- like you said, it is the perfect thing to cook a big pot of so you don't have to make lunches the rest of the week! I'll let you know how it comes out if I try this one!