Though many home cooks pour over weekly store sale ads to plan their menus, I plan weekly dinners from the variety of beans and whole grains that I have on hand in my pantry. I have quinoa, rice and a bit of millet, a tiny amount of wild rice and about 5 varieties of beans. My Monday Soup Project often incorporates beans or grains, so I was looking for inspiration when I swung open the cupboard door.
My eyes fell on the garbanzo beans that I bought at Ayers Creek Farm at the Hillsdale Market last fall. I remembered that day and suddenly chickpeas seemed perfect. I started flipping through the library soup cookbooks to find the perfect recipe that would use up a number of ingredients I already have in my refrigerator.
I stumbled across Chickpea and Spinach Soup in Vegetable Soups from Deborah Madison's Kitchen. Madison's books are treasure troves of useable recipes, and this book doesn't fail to inspire. I plan on buying my own copy when a space eases up in my book budget.
I had everything the soup listed--a carrot, a lemon, my last head of garlic from Rent's Due Ranch--all but the spinach, but I knew the soup would be just as good with kale. Oh, I also had a leek instead of an onion but it was an easy switch.
I added a potato and sweet potato (I had both in my pantry) to the mix. All the veggies added up to one very cool vegetable soup with chickpeas.
Here is the recipe:
Chickpea and Kale Soup with bread crumbs
1 cup garbanzos, soaked (or chickpeas)
4 cups stock or water
1 head of garlic, cloves separated, peeled and minced
1 carrot, sliced
1 sweet potato, diced
1 potato, diced
1 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
2 cups thinly sliced kale
1 leek, washed and thinly sliced up through the light green part
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped pickled peppers such as Mama Lil's
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 cup coarse bread crumbs blended with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1. Place the garbanzos, stock, garlic, carrot, sweet potato, potato, basil and oregano in a soup pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until beans are tender. When beans are tender, stir in kale.
2. Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the leek and Mama Lil's Peppers. Stir and cook until soft. Add the leeks and peppers to the soup. Blend in salt to taste. Add lemon zest and juice. SERVES 4 to 6
My Cooking Assistant insists this chickpea soup is best with these fabulous bread crumbs. (I didn't tell him these were just crushed croutons from Grand Central Bakery.)