Monday, November 24, 2008

Favorites and Photography

I have to face it: soup is not photogenic.

No shot I take does it justice;
the good stuff sinks to the bottom and the bowl doesn't look that appetizing.

Which is a shame, because this is one of my favorite recipes of all time. I love soup and this one says home. It's one of Mom's favorites, and mine too. The rich aroma of cumin, and the textures of the rice and chickpeas are very comforting.

Middle-Eastern Chickpea Soup comes from this cookbook:
The Occasional Vegetarian by Karen Lee.
It's the first cookbook Mom gifted me when I left home. It's filled with delicious and inventive recipes for the full-time vegetarian or part-time vegetarian; the author has a background in Chinese cuisine so much of its contents has an Asian spin.
Made with pantry ingredients, I have this soup on the table from start to finish in 45 minutes. Snuggling with this soup brings me back to the kitchen table with my mom, scraping the last bits from the bottom of the bowl.

We make some changes to the original recipe. First, we use water instead of broth. You can't tell the difference in the finished soup with the tomatoes and spices, and it's easier. The recipe calls for 1 cup fresh chickpeas. I use canned and the whole thing; it's more than 1 cup but they are so, so delicious! And I use chopped tomatoes instead of squishing whole tomatoes in a separate bowl, an unnecessary extra step.

Middle-Eastern Chickpea Soup
adapted from The Occasional Vegetarian by Karen Lee
1 cup chopped onion
1 Tbs olive oil
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
3 garlic cloves, minced
5 cups water (or stock)
2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
1/3 cup white rice
2 Tbs chopped parsley
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
In a large heavy pot over medium heat, saute the onions, carrots, and celery in the olive oil until softened, 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until it begins to turn golden and fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Add the water and turn the heat to high. Bring the soup to a simmer and add the salt, cumin, black pepper, bay leaf, rice, and parsley. Add the tomatoes and return the soup to a simmer. Turn the heat to low and cover. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chickpeas and simmer an additional 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaf, and serve hot. Sprinkle with additional parsley.
Other garnish suggestions: grated parmesan cheese, lemon juice, or cilantro
(I prefer it plain with a bit of extra parsley)



Erica said...

mmm sounds great! Love soup in the fall! Chickpeas are my new obsession! Hope you have a great Thanksgiving!

LizNoVeggieGirl said...

You MADE the soup photogenic, girl - looks fabulous!!

Unknown said...

the soup must be hiding it's goodness to save more for you! sounds delish :)