Wednesday, November 13, 2013

heidi swanson's chickpea stew

This may be the only soup I ever want to eat again. 

I know I said I have a hard time getting excited about soups but it seems that things may be changing. After my luck with the caldo verde last week, I decided to try my hand at making Heidi Swanson's chickpea stew. As is probably obvious given the fact that this is the second recipe from Heidi Swanson this week, I am a big fan of 101cookbooks; it's one of my favorite places to turn to for cooking inspiration because Ms. Swanson has a real gift for flavor combinations. Anyway, it was the perfect lazy recipe- everything came together in under fifteen minutes and at the end I was presented with a lush, creamy soup, elegantly flavored with saffron and sweet paprika. Friends, this soup is a revelation. 

I don't know what it is about saffron but it just makes everything unbelievably delicious. I wouldn't make this soup without it. I did, however, substitute chicken stock for vegetable- I just don't like store-bought vegetable stock that much. I think this came out just beautifully with the substitution, so I amended the recipe thusly. Also, I didn't have sweet paprika and was debating whether I could get away with using the smoked paprika I had on hand. At the end of the day, I ended up buying some sweet paprika when I was at the grocery store because I'm a total sucker when it comes to buying spices. I'm glad I did; the smoked paprika would have overwhelmed the delicate flavors at play. 

Chickpea stew, serves 4-6
few pinches of fine sea salt
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 cups cooked chickpeas
4 cups chicken broth
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp saffron threads
3 large egg yolks, beaten
1 cup full-fat plain yogurt (I used St. Benoit's)
sweet paprika
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

Heat a medium sized, heavy-bottomed pot over medium high flame. Add 2 tbsp of olive oil and cook the onions with a few pinches of salt for a few minutes until softened. Stir in the chickpeas, then add the chicken broth and garlic. Bring to simmer then remove from heat.

In a medium bowl, whisk the saffron and egg yolks together, then whisk in the yogurt. Slowly add a cup of the hot broth to the yogurt mixture, stirring constantly. Slowly whisk the yogurt mixture back into the pot of soup. Return the pot to medium heat and cook, stirring continuously for another 5-7 minutes, never allowing broth to simmer.

Serve sprinkled with paprika and chopped cilantro.

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