Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Spicy Chickpea Soup

I love soup.  It makes me incredibly happy.  I'm not sure what it is about soup that makes me so happy, but what isn't to love about a hot bowl of soup on a cold night?  Soup is warm, comforting and delicious.  And it is a wonderful way to try new flavors and new ingredients (or to see old ingredients in a new light).  For instance, we eat a lot of chickpeas in our apartment but I have never tried a chickpea soup before.  And I don't think I have ever added yogurt to soup before.  But the chickpeas work really nicely to thicken the soup and give it a creamy texture.  And the yogurt was the perfect finishing touch because it gave the soup a wonderfully tangy flavor and a smooth, creamy texture.  If you ask me, the dollop of yogurt really made the soup.  I was a little weirded out by adding apple juice to a soup, but if you really think about it, adding apple juice isn't all that different from adding diced up apple.  So we went ahead and did it (or really I did it because the deal was that I would cook dinner if Alex got the ball rolling on our taxes - I like to file early).  The best thing about this chickpea soup was that the ingredients were really easy to find ingredients (and there weren't all that many of them) and the soup came together really quickly.  Once you threw everything into the blender and pureed it, it really took no time at all to bring to a simmer and serve.  And even though the ingredients only simmered together briefly, the soup tasted like a composed dish that took much longer to make.  I served the soup with salad and some whole wheat sourdough bread and it made a really tasty (which was the adjective that Alex kept using to describe the soup), easy and hearty winter meal. 
Recipe after the jump!

Spicy Chickpea Soup
Adapted from Food & Wine

Two 19-ounce cans chickpeas, drained
One 13.5-ounce can light coconut milk
One 14.4-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained and chopped (1/2 cup)
1/4 cup apple juice
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp ground ginger 
1/4 tsp ground cayenne
1 cup chicken stock or vegetable stock
1/4 cup plain yogurt (we used labneh)
2 scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced 

In a blender, combine the drained chickpeas with the coconut milk, chopped tomatoes, apple juice, cilantro leaves, garam masala, ground ginger and cayenne and puree the mixture until smooth.

Transfer the puree to a medium saucepan. Stir in the chicken stock and bring to a simmer over moderately high heat. Season with s&p. Ladle the soup into bowls, top with the yogurt and scallion greens and serve.

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