Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Creamy Chick-Pea Soup with Garlic and Lemon

This is a recipe from my favourite cookbook in the entire world. It is sadly out of print now, but if you ever find a copy used, snap it up. It's called the Vegetarian Express Lane Cookbook and Sarah Fristchner wrote it. Every recipe contains no more than 10 items. They are all really easy. I've only made one thing that was a flop (the cornbread).

I first got it because Grace and Greg had it. They made me a few things out of it that I really liked, and Grace raved about how easy everything was. I asked for it from my Mom for Christmas. She got a copy for both me and my sister. That was 2000.

My copy is now yellowed and wrinkled and spattered and stained, and has notes jotted all through it. "Parboil sw. pot." "v. easy and tasty only make half" "6 1/2"*

I gave a copy to Christine in Winnipeg, because she didn't like cooking. Since many of the recipes in here involve litle elst than sauteing garlic or onion in some oil and spices and adding beans and vegetables, I figured it'd be a good place for her to start. But I don't think she uses it much. Still, she may well do so someday, and then she will also love this book.

This past Christmas, I also gave a copy to Jennifer, who has proceeded to make a bunch of stuff that I never thought to try (Greek Potatoes!) and now also loves this book.

The Vegetarian Fast Lane marked a turning point in my life and I am happy every time I use it. I would not post this recipe except that the book is hard to get now.

4 large garlic cloves, minced**
2 tbsp olive oil
2 15-to-19 oz cans chickpeas
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt***
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (or cayenne or Tobasco)
about 1 cup water
2-3 tablespoons chutney
toasted sesame seeds or crumbled feta cheese

In a large saucepan over med-high heat, cook garlic in oil until golden, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add chickpeas with their liquid and heat through. Add lemon juice, oregano, salt and red pepper flakes. Simmer for 10 minutes. Put mixture in blender** and blend until smooth. Return to the pan, stir in water and heat through. Add more water to thin to desired consistency.***

Serve in warm bowls,**** stirring in a little chutney and sprinkling with toasted sesame seeds or feta cheese, if desired.*****

*My stove in the Fax ran really hot and I burned a lot of stuff before I realized that 6 and a half was "high heat."
**You might want to use more if you're a garlic fan.
***What, because there's not enough sodium in the chickpea liquid? I don't put this in.
****No, do not do this. Go and buy yourself a damn immersion blender and you will make so much delicious and easy soup that you will have more than justified the 30 bucks you forked over for it. Because you know what will discourage you from making delicious and easy soup? Trying to pour very hot chickpeas, or very hot tomatoes, or very hot other pre-soup ingredients into a blender, and getting your arms covered in little red burns from the very hot pre-soup liquid that splashes out of the blender.
*****Here she says "I like it thick." I like it thick too.
******Are you fucking kidding me?
*******I have never desired and it's still delicious.
Obviously, I haven't read this recipe very carefully lately. No matter what you do, though it will turn out fine. Because that's the kind of cookbook this is.


madeleine said...

Thanks for the recipe. That was definitely the easiest soup I've ever made! Tasty, too.

The notes at the end were especially helpful.

Jim said...

This was super easy and super good. I'm gonna have to try to find this book... I'll let you know if I find it!