I used to be tough in the face of frigid temperatures. My childhood winters in northern Minnesota were spent sledding down a toboggan run my dad constructed in the backyard and building giant snowmen, outfitted with faces and buttons fashioned from the plastic tops of aerosol cans. In high school, my friend Karen and I spent some of the coldest weeks of winter ice skating outside, windchill be damned, rather than playing broomball with the rest of our gym class in the relative comfort of the hockey arena. Granted, that may have been motivated more by a disdain for broomball and lack of athletic ability than a genuine love of the cold, but still.
I must have lost my edge after moving 150 miles south to Minneapolis, because these days I am a wimp. I bundle up in sweatshirts and wool socks in my house, which is heated to comfortable 70 degrees. The only winter sport I engage in is seeing how briskly I can walk across the slippery parking lot to my car--the car with the heated seats (actually, both of our cars have heated seats, and I really don't know how I made it through 27 years in Minnesota without them). My winter survival plan also includes soup, which you may have picked up on if you've followed the blog through winters past. There are slow cooker soups for weekdays: black bean soup with cilantro and lime, vegetarian split pea soup, and Thai butternut squash soup. There are more ambitious soups for the weekends: French onion soup (beef broth is one of the reasons I will never make the jump to strict vegetarianism) and a Tunisian chickpea soup from Mollie Katzen. There is the tomato soup for dreaming of spring, the recipe that finally broke my streak of lackluster lentil soups, and the sweet potato soup that makes me feel like I'm winning at adulthood. If there is one redeeming thing about winter, besides Christmas and the fact that I look good in knitted hats, it's the soup.
So, here we have the first soup recipe of the 2016-2017 winter season. It's somewhat similar to the creamy tomato soup I made last year, in that it relies on canned tomatoes and comes together fairly quickly. But unlike that soup--and most tomato soups I've come across--it's hearty enough to stand on its own as a meal, thanks to a couple cans of chickpeas. Half of the chickpeas are pureed into the soup, to bulk it up without using cream, and the other half are left whole, adding a nice little bit of texture. In the way of the food blogosphere, I've adapted it from Playin' With My Food, who adapted it from the Once Upon a Tart cookbook. I also stumbled across a version on Orangette while I was writing this post, which I recommend checking out since Molly Wizenberg is one of my all-time favorite writers.
I like this soup as is, but Mike prefers it topped with grated Parmesan. Unlike most of my recipes, it makes six servings rather than four, but the leftovers freeze excellently.
Adapted from Playin' With My Food
- 4 teaspoons vegetable broth base or 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup minced onion
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
- 2 (15 ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- grated Parmesan for serving, if desired
If using vegetable broth base, dissolve into 4 cups of boiling water and set aside.
Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the olive oil and tilt to coat evenly. Add the onion and rosemary and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened and rosemary is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook just until golden, about 1 minute. Add the prepared vegetable broth, tomatoes, and half of the chickpeas. Bring to a boil, partially cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes.
Remove soup from heat. In batches, puree the soup in a blender. Return pureed soup to the Dutch oven and stir in remaining half of chickpeas. Serve topped with grated Parmesan cheese if desired.