Monday, December 9, 2013

Soup's On! Mideast Chickpea Soup... and Another Book Giveaway!!!

One of my favorite vegan chefs, Mark Reinfeld, has another book out! This one is called
The 30-Minute Vegan: Soup's On!: More than 100 Quick and Easy Recipes for Every Seasonand it's another winner for Mark. We're big on soup around here, especially in the colder months, and this book will really give me a lot of new flavors to play with through the winter and beyond.

There are sections within the book focusing on Vegetable-Based Soups, Soups and Stews with Grains, Legumes, and Pasta, Creamy Blended Soups, and even Raw Soups and Dessert Soups. There's also a chapter in the beginning on the Art of Soup Creation, and one at the end on Garnishes and Sides. I'm pretty sure Rick and I could eat all winter from just this one book.

Narrowing my list of must-trys down to one to share with you here wasn't easy.  Would it be Fried Green Tomato Soup au Gratin? Or maybe African Peanut Soup? Or Vietnamese Pho Real Bowl or Veggie Coq au Vin or New England Chowder? I finally settled on the Mideast Chickpea Soup because I had just cooked up a big batch of sprouted chickpeas. It was perfect timing.

The night I set out to make what Rick now says is his Very Favorite Soup, the electricity went out, and there I stood, in a dark kitchen with a bowl of beans and a pile of chopped vegetables in front of me. Fortunately it's winter, and we had a good fire going in the wood stove. I moved my soup project into the living room and cooked it over wood heat. It came out a little bit different from the recipe because I didn't have electricity to run the blender. Not a problem! I improvised with a potato masher, and we had a less creamy but still absolutely delicious soup. 

And now, with permission, enjoy the recipe for Mideast Chickpea Soup! Then order your own book from Amazon or any of the other usual places, and enter here to WIN a FREE COPY!!! Mark and his publisher have generously agreed to send a copy of Soup's On to one of my lucky readers! To enter, leave a comment on this post. I'll choose a winner in a random drawing on Friday, December 20. Good luck!
From the book The 30 Minute Vegan Soup’s On! by Mark Reinfeld.  Excerpted by arrangement with Da Capo Lifelong, a member of the Perseus Books Group. Copyright (c) 2013.

Mideast Chickpea Soup
Believe it or not, peace in the Middle East can start in your own kitchen, with this
recipe. Try it and I think you will understand why. The creaminess comes from blending
the chickpeas with tahini, a ground sesame seed paste that is the Middle Eastern equivalent of our Western peanut butter. Top with Tofu Feta (page 207) and Basil Oil (page 188) and serve with Pita Chips (page 199).

2 teaspoons ground cumin
5 cups vegetable stock (see page 25) or water
1¼ cups diced onion
½ cup diced celery
6 garlic cloves, 5 left whole and 1 pressed
2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained well
¾ cup creamy tahini
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
Pinch of cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)
¼ cup diced kalamata olives or Tapenade, for garnish (see page 193)
Fresh parsley or fresh oregano leaves, for garnish

1. Place the cumin in a 3-quart pot over high heat. Toast until golden brown and aromatic,
about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

2. Add the vegetable stock, onion, celery, the five whole cloves of the garlic, and one can of the
chickpeas and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Carefully transfer to a blender and blend until creamy.
4. Return the mixture to the pot, add the remaining ingredients, except the pressed garlic, parsley, olive oil, if using, and olives, and cook for 10 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Add the pressed garlic, parsley, and olive oil, if using, and stir well. The whole chickpeas will sink to the bottom of the pot, so be sure to stir well before serving.
5. Garnish each serving with about 2 teaspoons of olives and a leaf of parsley.
• Replace the salt with 1½ tablespoons wheat-free tamari or other soy sauce.
• Add 1 cup of corn and 1 cup of seeded and diced red bell pepper after blending.
• Replace the chickpeas with cannellini beans or your favorite.

• Add 1 tablespoon of curry powder along with the cumin, and replace the parsley with cilantro for an Indian flair.

Cook's notes: I've made this twice now - the first time on the wood stove, and then again on my electric stove. It was perfect both times. I used sprouted, home cooked chickpeas, which you certainly don't have to do. I'm just weird that way. I also customized the second batch a little bit. Because I have a small NutriBullet blender with a plastic jar, I didn't want to blend hot soup in it. I toasted the cumin, then sautéed the onions, celery, and garlic in a little water before adding half of the chickpeas and some of the broth to cool it down. After blending I added everything else and proceeded with the recipe as written. One other thing - I was out of tahini the second round, so I soaked 1/2 cup of sesame seeds for a while, drained them, and cooked them in with the onions and celery before blending. It was a little bit less rich and creamy than if I'd used tahini, but it was still quite good. Rick didn't really notice the difference until I told him. It's still his favorite soup!