Saturday, March 27, 2010

Chickpea, Tomato and Rosemary Soup

Fresh herbs rule. When the cold weather rolls in and puts my garden to bed for the winter, my herbs are what I miss the most. Grocery store herbs are alright, but my favourite place to buy fresh herbs in the winter is a little grocery/specialty shop in Dundas, Ontario, called Picone’s. Along with the beautiful display of aromatic fresh herbs, they also carry local and organic produce, artisan breads, specialty oils and vinegars, a beautiful pastry table, and, as we discovered on Friday, they make a mean Cafe Latte. I could extol the virtues of this little food market for this entire post. Really, I could ramble for on for days, it is such a cool little store. But this post, it is all about the rosemary, and what it does for this simple and unassuming soup. A handful of ingredients, just over half an hour of your time, and you will have a big pot of delicious, fragrant, mouth watering soup. And, if you are lucky, your rosemary will come from Picone’s, like mine did!

I have made this soup several times, but always with fresh rosemary. The flavour is divine, and I have my doubts that dried rosemary would measure up. I first found this recipe on the Orangette blog, and have since discovered it is also in my Once Upon A Tart cookbook, in the “Once Upon A Soup” section. I have really not altered it much at all, it is terrific as it stands. I made this batch when Jims Aunt came for lunch this weekend, served with a loaf of homemade bread and fresh butter. Simple, delicious, and satisfying. Well worth the drive to Picone’s to get your rosemary!!

Chickpea Tomato Rosemary Soup , Adapted from Once Upon a Tart

3 Tbsp olive oil

2-3 cloves garlic

1 – 6” sprig of rosemary

2 – 28oz cans of diced tomatoes with their juices

2 – 19 oz cans of chickpeas

1 900ml box of chicken or vegetable stock (or the equivalent amount of homemade)

Pinch of sugar

Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Peel and chop the garlic,

Remove the rosemary needles from the stem, and chop finely

Drain and rinse the chickpeas, set aside.

Warm the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and rosemary, and let it cook for a minute or so, you don’t want to brown the garlic, you just want the flavours to infuse the oil. Add the tomatoes, ½ of the chickpeas, the stock, sugar, salt and pepper to the pot.

 Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered for 20 minutes.

Remove from heat and puree with an immersion blender. (if you don’t have an immersion blender, you can puree it in batches in your blender or food processor)

It should look a bit like this:

Return to the stove, stir in the rest of the chickpeas,

Heat til the chickpeas are warm.

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