Monday, February 20, 2006

Chickpea and chesnut soup

Ivano also sent me the ingredients for this fabulous soup. The chickpeas and chesnuts came dried, as did the onion and garlic. The bay leaves are the most fragrant I have ever smelled and the extra virgin olive oil is exceptionally fruity. I am lucky that there is enough of the last two ingredients to enjoy in further feasts! Many moons ago whilst studying for my PhD Dennis told me a funny story about soaking pulses overnight for a casserole. After filling all his bowls with peas and beans of various descriptions and covering them with water he pottered off to bed. The next morning he came into the kitchen to find swelled peas and beans flowing across surfaces as they had expanded in volume in the night. (I like to imagine a sea of them across the floor to.) So it was with great trepidation that I selected my biggest bowls in which to soak my chickpeas and chesnuts overnight. And though the chickpeas reached the edge of their bowl, there was no overflowing!

500g chickpeas, dried
500g chesnuts, dried
1 onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, slices
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper
3 tablespoons cream

Soak the chickpeas and chesnuts overnight. Fry the onion and garlic until soft and then add the drained chickpeas and chesnuts. Cover with water and add the bay leaves. Simmer for 2hours or until chickpeas and chesnuts are softened. Then blend the soup - this needs to be done in batches and extra water can be added if the mixture becomes too thick for the blender. Warm the soup through and season with salt and pepper. Finally stir through the cream.

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