Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Anniversary Soup

I know up until now the blog has basically been about gardening with a few family trips and activities thrown in. So far I have not bored you with my culinary blunders and successes. But, since I'm updating this thing four times a week I'm going to throw in the highlights. I'm entering a recipe contest for Cooking Light and I'll post my (hopefully winning) recipe for that soon.

Tonight's post is dubbed Anniversary Soup for no other reason than that I'm leaving the Mister behind to go to another city for some professional training, on our wedding anniversary. So I am leaving behind a big pot of this delicious "Spiced Chickpea and Tomato Soup," along with some side dishes I'll post after I enter the recipes in the recipe contest.

The ingredients are:
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper (flakes)
3/4 tsp ground coriander
1/8 tsp caraway seeds
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 can (15.5 oz) chickpeas, rinsed
1 can (large) crushed tomatoes, with juice
1/2 cup roasted red peppers, rinsed
3.5 cups stock

I used delicious San Marzano tomatoes, as you can see, from the wonderful commissary. I love the food selection at the commissary! They have food products from all over the world, at rock bottom prices! If you have not experienced San Marzano tomatoes, make a sauce with your normal Hunts or Del Monte, and a pot with these, and let your mouth have a party. Each can was $1.99.

I doubled this recipe, by the way. That is why the can of chickpeas is so huge in the photo. There is a second can of tomatoes lurking out of sight.

So, then you: 1) use a mortar and pestle to crush garlic, red pepper, coriander, salt, and caraway to form a paste.

2) heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic mixture and cook until softened (about 3 minutes, although I found it needed about half this time)
3) Stir in the chickpeas, tomatoes, red peppers and stock. Simmer for 15 minutes. Cool slightly.

It's looking very tomato-ey at this stage. SO, you let it simmer and heat up and you make your side dish and clean up the kitchen. But wait. You'll have a lot more clean up to do later, don't worry. Because of step number 4:

4) Puree in a blender. Serve with a dollop of sour cream (I omitted this, and never eat sour cream anyway. We have substituted plain yogurt for all sour cream in the house anyway.)

HERE IS AN IMPORTANT TIP: when you blend hot liquids, you must not put the top on the blender, or, rather, you must take the middle insert out of the top of the blender. My professional chef friend gave me a trick for this and taught me to just put a kitchen towel over the hole so no drops spray your cabinets.

The alternative to this, if you keep the top on, is that the top will explode off of your blender while blending when the hot liquid pushes the air up, and red soup will fly everywhere in your kitchen. My stepmom and I discovered this five, six times in her kitchen when we made this soup, before we figured out the right way to puree it. And even then, we thought we should cool it down in the freezer. Nope, it will not get cool enough anytime soon. Just warning ya!

Then you'll have two pots to clean b/c you kind of have to use the two pot puree and transfer method, but you are left with one of the most delicious soups I have ever tasted! Kudos to "K" for this recipe!!

Bon Appetit, husband!

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