Tuesday, January 22, 2013
I’m not sure how other food bloggers do things. I always have this sneaking suspicion that everyone else is much more organized than I am. You know. They decide they’re going to write about something. Then they go out and buy the ingredients. Then they spend a lot of time photographing not only the ingredients, but also styling the finished dish.
I’m kind of lucky if we get dinner on the table.
Don’t get me wrong. I do pay attention to the way I’m photographing things. And although it may sound like it sometimes, my writing is not simply train of thought. I do put a lot of effort into that too.
But the cooking and planning part often get short shrift.
My blog ends up being about what I cook. And not the other way around.
Which is the long way of saying I didn’t intend this to be a blog post about old chickpeas which turned into soup. It just happened.
Saturday afternoon I found a jar of chickpeas way at the back of the cupboard, and so put them in a bowl to soak overnight. As I always do with dried beans, I had carefully poured the chickpeas into a glass jar, so that bugs wouldn’t get to them and they would stay fresh. I had also snipped off the label , and stuck it in the jar, so that I would remember exactly what they were.
Before soaking them, though, I dutifully took a photograph of both the chickpeas and the label. Because rule number one of the Minchilli style of blogging is that you never know in advance what is going to turn out to be blog-worthy. So I pretty much take photographs of anything edible that comes into our house.
On Sunday morning I cooked the chickpeas with water and a few carrots, an onion and a stick of celery. (Again. Photographed).
Once cooked, I didn’t really know what was going to happen to them, so into the fridge they went. Pot and all. I didn’t even drain them.
Monday afternoon I found myself not only needing lunch, but also a blog topic for Tuesday.
Both were just a immersible blender whizz away
In went the blender, and out came the creamiest, easiest soup. Drizzled with a swirl of fruity olive oil. Even I was impressed.
Until I finally got around to editing these photographs. And looked closely at the chickpea label.
Use by December 2011.
I thought the chickpeas had looked kind of shriveled. And they had taken an awful long time to cook.
But really, they were just fine. And tasted amazing. Maybe the 'aging' had made them even better? I don’t know why they even bother with those ‘use by’ dates on dried legumes. The worst that can happen (as long as bugs don’t get to them) is that they get really dried out, and take longer to cook.
And the best that can happen? You get both a delicious lunch and a blog post.
Easy Chickpea Soup
2 cups dried chickpeas*
1 stick celery
1 medium onion
3 canned tomatoes
1 1/2 tsp salt
*Since the broth for this soup comes from the actual chickpea cooking water, this is best done with dried chickpeas, not canned ones.
Soak the chickpeas overnight. (or 24 hours if they are several years old)
Place chickpeas in a large pot and cover with water, so that the water comes up about 2 inches over the top of the chickpeas. Bring to a simmer and skim off any foam that forms.
Add the rest of the ingredients, bring back to a simmer, and cover. Cook over low heat until chickpeas are very tender.
Let the soup cool down. It’s even better if you put it in the fridge overnight to let the flavors develop.
Puree until smooth with an immersible blender.
To serve, ladle into bowls and drizzle with the best olive oil you have. Remember, no oil went into the soup before hand, so this part is important.
A nice touch would be croutons. If you can plan ahead to have some.