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Hammy Chickpea Soup

Hammy Chickpea Soup

Name a better activity for an autumnal, sweater-weather Sunday than simmering a cozy soup. (Oh, and apple-picking doesn't count.) When cooked from dry, chickpeas are way more tender than their canned counterparts—and, despite what you've been told, they don't even need to be soaked. We cook them straight from the bag, then harness the flavor of their cooking liquid to make the base for a creamy, bean-studded soup. A small amount of ham—in the form of a smoked hock—goes a long way here. You won’t get a lot of meat off that bone; its major contribution is saltiness, smokiness, and a silky, rich texture. If you don’t have or can’t find a ham hock, use a few ounces of slab bacon instead.

Equipment

Steps

  1. Place 1 lb. dried chickpeas in a large stockpot and cover with 4 qt. water. Season with 2 Tbsp. salt and bring to a boil over high heat and cook, skimming any foam that rises to surface, about 20 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and bring to a simmer.

  2. While you’re waiting for the water to boil, peel 2 carrots. Halve 1 large onion through root end and remove papery skins. Smash and peel 8 garlic cloves.

  3. Add carrots, onion, garlic, 1 smoked ham hock, and ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil to pot. Add 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes, 1 tsp. cumin seeds, and 1 tsp. smoked paprika; season with several twists of black pepper and stir to combine.

  4. Adjust heat so that you’re at a gentle simmer and cook, stirring occasionally and topping off with more water to keep chickpeas submerged by at least 2", until chickpeas are completely tender, 1½–2½ hours (this may take longer, in which case continue to simmer, checking every 15 minutes or so).

  5. Meanwhile, strip leaves of 1 bunch curly kale from stems, then tear leaves into about 2" pieces. Set aside.

  6. Using a slotted spoon, transfer ham hock to a cutting board; let sit until cool enough to handle, about 5 minutes. Using same spoon, transfer carrots and onion to a blender or food processor. Scoop out 2 cups chickpeas and add to blender, then dunk measuring cup into soup to collect 1 cup liquid and pour into blender. Blend until mixture is smooth, about 30 seconds. (Alternately, transfer vegetables, chickpeas, and liquid to a deep bowl and use an immersion blender.)

  7. Pour purée back into soup (this is what is going to make the soup thick, creamy, and luscious). Add reserved kale and stir to submerge.

  8. Pick meat from ham hock, discarding skin, bones, and any large pieces of fat and cartilage, and cut into ½" pieces; add to soup. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until greens are extremely tender and soup is thickened slightly, about 45 minutes.

  9. Using a ladle, divide soup among bowls.

  10. Drizzle with oil; season with salt and black pepper.

  11. Do Ahead: Soup can be made 2 days ahead. Let cool, then transfer to an airtight container and chill. Reheat over medium, adding water if needed to loosen.

Recipe by Carla Lalli MusicReviews SectionMost flavorful soup I have ever made. Used a ham shank instead of a ham hock, more meat for the soup! Didn't think the dish was too salty, even added a little bit of chicken broth when the chickpeas were cooking, but could see how others could think so. Based on the comments, added a few splashes on lemon juice while the kale (and chard I also threw in) were cooking. Didn't use any cumin, still got amazing flavor with sweet paprika and red pepper flakes.SnicklefrtizColorado07/15/20I made this recipe with a few handfuls of leftover smoked ham from a family dinner, and used spinach added at the end instead of kale as that is something I never have on hand. It turned out perfectly.ShandacrobertsFlorida06/08/20I give this recipe five stars, because it is easy and really very delicious. But your outcome will depend upon your chickpeas. I made this first with peas bought in bulk from our food co-op (high turnover) - took about two hours. Made it tonight with bagged dried chickpeas from a brand you've definitely heard of - four hours later I give up. It's edible and tasty but the beans never truly got soft and creamy. We will have this tomorrow - dinner tonight ended up being popcorn, cheese, sardines, toast and wine. (No complaints.)This was a new recipe for me. I usually do not alter a recipe the first time I try it but I did not have a ham hock (restricting my trips to the store at this time) so used a ham bone I had in the freezer. This soup is delicious and wondering how much better it would be with a ham hock.Super easy soup for my Saturday in quarantine. It has a tiny kick but my little dude approves- he’s six. It has a nice richness and a bit of smoke. The texture is perfect. Kinda disappointed with the amount of meat I got off the bone but que sera, sera. The flavor fell a little flat at the end so I juiced it up- literally, with some lemon. If I was to make this again, I might throw in two hocks, and roasted tomatoes.heardchefWashington D.C.03/28/20Delicious! I felt it needed a little umami kick, so i threw in some tomato paste and anchovy paste. Also cut down on the salt a little. Turned out really, really well.Alexandra FallowsAmsterdam03/12/20When I tell you... this soup is AMAZING!!!! I only added 1 tablespoon of kosher salt as opposed to two since the other comments scared me. It came out perfect! I will definitely make it again soon!steech1Lynchburg, VA01/26/20I loved this recipe. After checking the comments, I held back on the salt and adjusted as I cooked. Dried chickpeas worked great. I did feel it was lacking at the end, so I added lemon juice and some Crystal Hot Sauce. It turned out perfectly. For vegetarian, I'd take the suggestion of a parmesan rind, and for vegan, I'd use veg broth and maybe some nutritional yeast for flavor. This is a good, basic recipe for delicious cold-weather soup.AnonymousWashington, DC 01/09/20Maybe this would have been better with bacon but the smoked ham hock gives such a funky flavor that I could not eat it. I am not a fan of smoked things, so maybe that was the problem. I wanted to like it, made a large batch and wound up throwing it out.Laura StarksChicago12/23/19My family and I loved this soup. Perfect with crusty bread on a Sunday night. I did not run into any of the issues some other reviewers have mentioned. It wasn't too salty, the chickpeas didn't take too long, and it tasted even better the next day (not sure how it could "become inedible" overnight). I don't know why some people had such wildly different experiences, but this is a keeper for me. My guess for the people who think it's too salty is that they might be using the wrong salt. They use Diamond Crystal kosher salt in the test kitchen, which is less salty than Morton's kosher salt and a hell of a lot less salty than table salt. If you're using table salt you should halve the amount you put in.Bottom line: this soup is delicious.carla_hive14california12/15/19This was good (especially the kale) but something about it was too savory/salty for me. I didn't mind the cooking time but was disappointed when I found the leftovers to be inedible after sitting in the fridge overnight. I would make this again, but with some changes.AnonymousIndiana, USA11/19/19This soup is good. Is it worth the 3 & 1/2-4 hours it takes to cook, though? Unfortunately, I don't think so. Maybe I would try this again with a white bean instead of chickpeas, because they really do take *forever* to get tender. I would also try smoked bacon instead of ham hock next time.AnonymousNew Jersey 11/18/19Absolutely a recipe that is greater than the sum of its parts! Delicious, savory, unbelievably understated in how good it is.I swapped kale for chard--kale is just not as good as so many other greens. Go for chard, collard greens, beet greens, etc. Also be aware this is a LONG recipe--you should always read the whole recipe of course--but this is a 2.5-3 hour long recipe wiht a 1.5-2.5 hour simmer.Perfect Sunday recipe.AnonymousNashville11/15/195 Stars. So I use basically to learn to cook, basically, and sometimes I add ingredients. I used this soup as sort of a fridge clean out and I didn't realize I wasn't supposed to chop the vegetables. I chopped them up and sautéed them in a skillet I cooked chopped up bacon in, along with the rest of a bell pepper, then added tomato paste. I then added wine to deglaze. I made this in an instant pot so I threw everything into the pot except the kale. I used an extra ham hock. I added all of the same seasonings, and the full amount of kosher salt. I pressure cooked for 45 minutes, did the puree, then added kale and pressure cooked for another 3 minutes. It was perfect.5 stars, with this caveat: The salt, folks! It's so salty and I L-O-V-E salt. Perhaps I reduced the soup too much, but that would leave it oversalted, not saltier than the sea. I used kosher salt. Another commenter mentioned that perhaps the "too salty" lot used fine table salt, but that wasn't the case here. I actually doubled the recipe, second batch completely unsalted, to dilute it. To add to that, I made it vegan- so no salty ham hock, either.HOWEVER. Awesome soup. Loved the technique, how easy it was to put together. Just so delicious. My chickpeas did take longer to cook but they might be older than Carla's. Because I made it vegan, I upped the olive oil a little bit as suggested, but I also browned the aromatics (onion, carrot, plus garlic at the last minute) a little bit in the bottom of the pot to pull out some flavor in place of the ham hock... mirepoix! Additionally, I added more paprika to get more ~smokiness~ and tossed that and cumin & red pepper flakes with the aromatics for just a few seconds in the oil before i added the broth and the rest of the ingredients.I hope people make this vegan-style. It was delicious and so worth making a double batch to fix the salting issue, even if I was eating this as leftovers for a little too long. I'm finally starting to crave it again!Salt to season, don't go crazy, and maybe salt a teensy bit at the end and this would be golden.This would’ve gotten five stars from me if it hadn’t been for the saltiness. The ham hocks are definitely salty enough on their own for this recipe. I was skeptical about not having to soak the chickpeas, but it worked out perfectly! Overall the soup had great flavor.Made this in the instant pot (45 mins on high) and felt it was just meh. Maybe I just don't love smoked paprika -- that flavour came through too much for me. I also felt like it made way too many chickpeas so I scooped out some extras and kept them to the side for another use. Followed the lead of some other posters and added some lemon juice at the end.I couldn't find dry chickpeas or a ham hock at my simple grocery store and didn't want to make another grocery stop, so I used two cans of chickpeas, rinsed and drained, and fried up a package of thick-cut Applewood smoked bacon in my skillet, and tossed that in instead. I was nervous to use 2tbsp of salt so I cut that back and in the end WOW so fabulous, a lovely, flavorful, slightly spicy and smoky soup. Hello cozy fall/winter dish!As a LOT of other people said, I found this to be very salty (my fiance, on the other hand, said it was perfect). I think perhaps the Bon App test Kitchen has less salty ham hocks than the general population? Were I to make this again, I'd forgo the salt entirely until about 30 minutes after adding the ham hock and then add salt until the broth reached desired salinity. That way, it would work for any ham hock, regardless of how salty. I might finish with a squeeze of lemon or dash of vinegar, too.As a couple people have said, it also took 3 hrs+ to cook the beans. I started at 3PM, and by 7PM, we were hungry and impatient. I gave up and took out the puree ingredients and ham hock at 7:15, leaving my pot on the stove and adding the greens (I used rutabaga greens, which are like collards, but a bit more delicate). By the time I was done pureeing and dissecting the ham, the greens were tender, and my beans were just about cooked. I think that leaving it on for an additional 45 minutes might be necessary with a hardier green (like the curly kale suggested), but for me it seemed like overkill. Were I to make again, I'd soak my beans overnight -- I think that would bring my cook time down to the 1.5-2.5 hrs prescribed.mc5ulliWashington, DC11/07/19Adding to my previous review that this is NOT too salty...maybe other reviewers used table salt rather than kosher? That can end up with a much saltier result due to the denser pack of the salt grains as you measure.I wholeheartedly disagree with all the reviews saying it's too salty! I read them after I had put the full amount in and got scared...but this soup was absolutely perfectly seasoned. And I know I tend to like my soups pretty salty, but my family and guests agreed, even my husband the saltphobic. I'm already making it a second time a week later- PERFECT chilly fall/winter soup. I wouldn't change a thing. This one will be on repeat.Wayyyyyy too much salt and also lacking an acidic component (especially to cut the salt). But once I added some more water to dilute the salt and some red wine vinegar it was much better. Problem with diluting with more liquid though is the soup wasn’t as thick as I would like.I would make this again but use less salt and maybe finish with some lemon. Great, hearty soup. I served it with ribs and used a similar spice profile for my bbq sauce and rub so the two complemented each other very well.Jessica85Toronto, Canada10/22/19This is going into the rotation of soups that get frozen in single serve portions & brought to lunch throughout the winter. Even my green veg averse husband loved it!My husband made the recipe exactly as listed (without reading reviews warning about all of the salt)....SO salty. It was INEDIBLE.Still giving it 3 stars because we are going to try again with no added salt and just let the ham hock do its thing. It smelled amazing, but those 2 Tablespoons were intense.Way too much salt as written. I wonder if it is a typo and should have read 2 teaspoons. That would be a lot closer to what you need. After some post cooking repair to dilute the salt level, soup was very good.Matt S.Connecticut 10/15/19

13 Recipes That Prove That Where There's a Bean, There's Dinner

Somehow, my kids will eat tacos. Hard or soft, are fair game, but the only fillings they will eat are chicken tinga, refried beans, and shredded orange cheddar cheese. Yes, it has to be orange. Leave it to my friend and BA contributor Rick Martinez to figure out a crazy-simple method for a fast braisy protein in a super simple sauce with mild-yet-not-boring chile flavor. Rick is a bean whisperer, and his method for turning humble canned beans into creamy, cravable refried beans is simple and delicious. The fact that I can add an endless variety of other toppings keeps us all happy.

I also often use these ingredients to make nachos, and just the other night got my older son to try them for the first time. He seemed to like them, until an extra crispy chip knocked out a loose tooth which he then swallowed, setting off 20 minutes of hysterics that the tooth fairy wouldn’t pay him without it. But still.


A number of you had great suggestions for tweaks and variations in the comments. Here are a couple that stood out.

Renae took the soup in a more herb-forward direction. "This soup is divine. I added fennel and sage to give it a warmer texture. Used almond milk to thin it out while blending."

Jesper noted, "Great looking soup. Instead of using cubed bouillon, I use the water left over from cooking chick peas. Usually I cook them with an onion, a garlic clove or two, black pepper corns and a bay leaf. The result is a lightly flavored vegetable stock, and it freezes well, too."

I like Christine's style, "I like to add a few garnishes like chopped fresh marjoram, oregano, thyme and a good dash of hot sauce! Sometimes a swirl of hot mustard is great too."

And if you're looking for more lentil or pulse based soups, I really love this Coconut Red Lentil Soup, and this Green Lentil Soup with Curried Brown Butter.

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How long can you freeze ham hocks?

On the list of cured pork products you should definitely have in your freezer at all times, ham hock is my Number One.

Other people might advise that you keep slab bacon, pancetta, or guanciale on hand, and while those things are great enhancements, ham hocks are a quadruple threat: They’re smoky, they’re collagen-rich, they’re salty, and they’re inexpensive. (And porky. But that's a given, right?)

Okay, but what is a ham hock? Cut from the bottom half of the pork leg, it’s a chunky, 4-inch section of bone surrounded by collagen, connective tissue, and some meat, all encased in a thick band of fat and skin. Hocks are typically cured with salt and smoked, so they’ll lend a bacony flavor to whatever you add them to. Ham hocks are usually sold in pairs that are pre-weighed and stocked in the butcher case with the other pre-packaged items. And they won’t set you back, price-wise, either (they’re typically less than $3 a pound).

Unlike bacon or pancetta, hocks are not especially meaty, which is why they’re a great addition to long-cooked things—soups, of course, but also pots of beans, braised greens, and beef or poultry stocks. They need all of that time to get nice and tender. When ham hocks cook in a liquidy environment for a long time, the collagen and fat slowly dissolve, infusing their surroundings with richness, saltiness, and smokiness. You won’t necessarily want to eat whatever fatty bits are still clinging on at the end of cooking, but you can easily pull all of that off to unearth the few pockets of actual meat tucked against the bone. Shred or dice the meat up and add it back to whatever you’ve cooked.

What if you’re a vegetarian and still want to make a soup or stew that contains a ham hock? Just omit it and add another few tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil to whatever you’re simmering to make up for the renderings, and be sure to check for seasoning, too, since you’ll be missing out on some salt. My hammy chickpea soup is seasoned only once with a measured amount of kosher salt at the beginning of the cook time because the hock rounds things out nicely. As it melts, the collagen in the hock also adds body to the soup if you are omitting it, you might want to simmer for an additional 15 minutes or until the liquid is a little thicker.

You only need one ham hock for most recipes, but since they’re sold in two-packs, you’ll always have an extra one on hand. Pop it into the freezer for another lazy soup-and-stew Sunday. They’re the ultimate humble brag.


Hammy Chickpea Soup - Recipes

Ingredients
olive oil
150 g iberico chorizo sausage , finely chopped
1 onion , peeled and finely chopped
1 clove garlic , peeled and finely chopped
2 sticks celery , finely chopped
500 g fresh spinach , washed and chopped
8 fresh tomatoes , deseeded and roughly chopped
410 g good-quality tinned cooked chickpeas , drained
1.3 litres organic chicken stock
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
55 g quality pata negra, Spanish ham or prosciutto , finely chopped
extra virgin olive oil
2 free-range eggs , hard-boiled

Method

I first tasted this soup when I was in Barcelona.
It may not look like the prettiest dish – it actually looks quite frumpy – but the flavours are amazing.
The smoky spicy chorizo and Spanish ham are lovely with the creamy texture of the chickpeas and spinach.
Definitely give this a go.
You will always get good results with this soup, but you'll come up with something really special if you can get hold of the best quality chickpeas, chorizo and ham.
There's a little bit of chopping to do in this recipe, but you can use a food processor if you don't have much time.

Put a couple of tablespoons of olive oil into a large pot and add the chorizo.
Allow to heat up and cook for a couple of minutes until the fat comes out of the chorizo, then add your onion, garlic and celery.
Turn the heat down and cook slowly for 15 minutes with a lid on and without colouring the onions.
Now take the lid off – the smell and colour will be fantastic.
Stir it around and get some colour happening now.
Add your spinach, tomatoes, chickpeas and chicken stock.
Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for around 40 minutes.
At this point you can remove about a third of the mixture and purée it in a food processor.
Pour it back into the pot, give it a good stir and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Remove from the heat and stir in the pata negra or ham and 2 or 3 tablespoons of good Spanish extra virgin olive oil.
Divide into bowls and grate some hard-boiled egg on top.
The egg was a bit unexpected when I was given this in Barcelona, but it actually adds a lovely richness to it.


Spanish Chickpea and Chorizo Soup

The Completed Spanish Chickpea and Chorizo Soup

My soup-a-holic friend Noel Pullen shared this Spanish Chickpea and Chirizo Soup – it is one of his favorite soup recipes (actually one of his wife’s favorites). The Tomato Basil Organic Soup is his other favorite. Both soups are original soup recipes from Jamie Oliver.

I didn’t change much of the original recipe, but I did add cumin and paprika, which are ussually found in Spanish dishes. I must say that I really love cumin.

The Verdict of Spanish Chickpea and Chorizo Soup?Wow – Noel’s wife has good taste buds indeed. This soup recipe is a keeper for sure! I am not sure if this soup will ever make it to the freezer because I had it last night and then today for lunch. This is one soup that rocks for flavor the first day and the flavors explode even more the next. I felt like licking the bowl because the base was so good. I also like how the prosciutto cooks a little and the hammy texture is so nice with the chorizo. For each and every spoonful, you are most likely to get one of the meats!

Spanish Chickpea and Chorizo Soup Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large (5.5 ounces) chorizo sausage, chopped
  • 2 cups onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 sticks of celery, chopped
  • 8 fresh tomatoes, deseeded and roughly chopped
  • 1 (14 ounce) can of good quality chickpeas, rinsed with water
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 5 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 lb fresh baby spinach
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 2 ounces of prosciutto, finely chopped
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced thinly (egg slicer can come in handy!)

Spanish Chickpea and Chorizo Soup Instructions:

  1. Heat olive oil up in large saucepan, saute chorizo until fat comes out.
  2. Add onion, garlic and celery. Turn heat to min and cook slowly for 10-15 mins with lid on – don’t colour onions.
  3. Add tomatoes, chickpeas, cumin, paprika and chicken stock.
  4. Bring to boil, lower heat and simmer for 40 mins.
  5. In meantime, place eggs in pot of cold water, bring pot to a boil then turn off heat, cover and let sit for 20 minutes. Rinse eggs in cold water and peel.
  6. When soup has simmered for 30 minutes, add in baby spinach.
  7. Puree about 1/3 of mixture or use the handheld blender for about 4 seconds.
  8. Season with salt and pepper
  9. Add prosciutto and stir for 1 minute.
  10. Ladle soup among serving bowls.
  11. Add sliced egg on top of soup.

What I changed from original recipe:

  • added cumin and paprika
  • used baby spinach and did not chop it
  • used 3 cloves of garlic instead of 1
  • used low sodium chicken stock
  • added spinach close to the end of simmer stage
  • sliced the eggs for garnish instead of grating

Soup Mistress Rating for Spanish Chickpea and Chorizo Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (3.75/5)
Presentation: (3.5/5)
Taste: (4.75/5)


Recipe Tips and Variations

This simple soup is a great opportunity to get creative. Below are a few tips and ideas for whipping up your own unique version.

Salt: Taste your finished soup before adding extra salt. The salt level is going to vary based on the type of ingredients used. When I use a homemade broth or a low sodium option I usually want a little extra salt. When I make this recipe with a bouillon cube, no extra salt is needed.

Herbs: We like the thyme on its own but you could try adding oregano or parsley too.

Make it With Potatoes: A peeled and diced yellow potato makes a nice addition. Pieces that are about ½-inch thick turn out great – soft and tender but not mushy.

Thickness: Using only the broth called for in the recipe will result in a fairly thick soup. I like to toss in an extra 1/4 cup of water for a slightly thinner consistency. Either way, the cooked soup will thicken more as it sits. If it’s too thick for your liking, stir in a few tablespoons of water to loosen it up a bit. Oh and if you’re not into a chunky soup, feel free to go at it with an immersion blender.

Make Things Smokier: If you miss that smoky (aka hammy) flavor of traditional split pea soup add a splash of liquid smoke or vegan Worcestershire sauce.

Brighten Things Up: Conversely, if you’re craving a lighter more vibrant flavor add a squeeze of lemon juice or a splash of red wine vinegar to the finished soup.

Toppings and Serving Ideas

I like my split pea soup finished with fresh parsley or thyme, a heavy pinch of red pepper flakes, and served with a piece (or two) of crusty bread for dipping. For a bit more flair, try topping the bowls with a handful of toaster oven baked croutons, parmesan crisps, or toasted pine nuts.

While this soup is surprisingly filling on its own, you can also serve it with an egg and cheese toast, salad, or half a sandwich (like this yummy roasted red pepper, carrot, and hummus sandwich) for a more substantial meal.


Spanish Chickpea and Chorizo Soup – Definitely a Bowl Licker!

Spanish Chickpea and Chorizo Soup

The Completed Spanish Chickpea and Chorizo Soup

My soup-a-holic friend Noel Pullen shared this Spanish Chickpea and Chirizo Soup – it is one of his favorite soup recipes (actually one of his wife’s favorites). The Tomato Basil Organic Soup is his other favorite. Both soups are original soup recipes from Jamie Oliver.

I didn’t change much of the original recipe, but I did add cumin and paprika, which are ussually found in Spanish dishes. I must say that I really love cumin.

The Verdict of Spanish Chickpea and Chorizo Soup?Wow – Noel’s wife has good taste buds indeed. This soup recipe is a keeper for sure! I am not sure if this soup will ever make it to the freezer because I had it last night and then today for lunch. This is one soup that rocks for flavor the first day and the flavors explode even more the next. I felt like licking the bowl because the base was so good. I also like how the prosciutto cooks a little and the hammy texture is so nice with the chorizo. For each and every spoonful, you are most likely to get one of the meats!

Spanish Chickpea and Chorizo Soup Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large (5.5 ounces) chorizo sausage, chopped
  • 2 cups onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 sticks of celery, chopped
  • 8 fresh tomatoes, deseeded and roughly chopped
  • 1 (14 ounce) can of good quality chickpeas, rinsed with water
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 5 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 lb fresh baby spinach
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 2 ounces of prosciutto, finely chopped
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced thinly (egg slicer can come in handy!)

Spanish Chickpea and Chorizo Soup Instructions:

  1. Heat olive oil up in large saucepan, saute chorizo until fat comes out.
  2. Add onion, garlic and celery. Turn heat to min and cook slowly for 10-15 mins with lid on – don’t colour onions.
  3. Add tomatoes, chickpeas, cumin, paprika and chicken stock.
  4. Bring to boil, lower heat and simmer for 40 mins.
  5. In meantime, place eggs in pot of cold water, bring pot to a boil then turn off heat, cover and let sit for 20 minutes. Rinse eggs in cold water and peel.
  6. When soup has simmered for 30 minutes, add in baby spinach.
  7. Puree about 1/3 of mixture or use the handheld blender for about 4 seconds.
  8. Season with salt and pepper
  9. Add prosciutto and stir for 1 minute.
  10. Ladle soup among serving bowls.
  11. Add sliced egg on top of soup.

What I changed from original recipe:

  • added cumin and paprika
  • used baby spinach and did not chop it
  • used 3 cloves of garlic instead of 1
  • used low sodium chicken stock
  • added spinach close to the end of simmer stage
  • sliced the eggs for garnish instead of grating

Soup Mistress Rating for Spanish Chickpea and Chorizo Soup:

Healthy (+ slimming + low sodium): (3.75/5)
Presentation: (3.5/5)
Taste: (4.75/5)


Chinese style Chicken & Sweetcorn Soup

Ingredients for 4
1 tin creamed sweetcorn
4 tin measures of chicken stock
1/2 tin measure frozen corn
1 chicken breast, poached and shredded

Garnish
2 sliced spring onions
Splash of sesame oil to taste, careful it is strong

Method
Put all ingredients in a pan and bring to a simmer for 5 minutes, add garnish. Check for salt and serve.


Rajasthani kadhi (chickpea dumplings in spicy sauce)

Cookbooks I buy overseas have always been my idea of trips that keep on giving. If I pick up a locally published recipe for panelle or Wiener schnitzel or turnip dumplings, I know I might have a chance of tasting Palermo or Salzburg or Hong Kong when I try it at home.

But my horizons expanded radically when I got back from India with my latest acquisition, a Rajasthani cookbook by “India’s No. 1 cookery author,” Tarla Dalal. After dragging it thousands of miles through three airports over 24 hours, I logged onto the website listed on the cover and found the same recipes, and many more, in a quickly searchable database, with no end of hand-holding for non-Indian cooks. Recipes are written in English but for Indians who know ingredients by different names, and so there’s a nifty little glossary: Type in jeera or besan and you get the English name (cumin, chickpea flour) plus suggested recipes, along with a photo understandable in any language. Even better, there’s an “Ask Tarla” function for e-mail answers from the author.

Just when security nightmares are making flying about as appealing as a root canal, the Internet is finally making it possible to stay home and taste the real India or the real Thailand. Or revisit Italy or France or the Caribbean, not to mention Ireland and Australia.

It’s virtual travel at its best. Sites such as epicurious.com have been sorting out the world’s food for years, but too often what they serve is more L.A. than Lombardy. The recipes are culled from mainstream magazines (Bon Appetit, Gourmet), and local oddities such as souse (pickled pig parts) from Barbados or even temptations such as cheesy-hammy tarte flambee from Alsace are not exactly high on their lists. More focused sites make you realize the world is much bigger than just a few favored nations with mainstream appeal.

Far-flung ingredients included

With the first three Dalal dishes I tried I could have been in India without the jet lag. Unlike the recipes in so many cookbooks in my collection, these were written not for the great American masses who timid publishers dream will buy into a bestseller but for cooks in the country where they originated. When a dal needs 12 seasonings, including dried mango powder or fresh curry leaves, Dalal specifies every one. And the system works halfway around the world because anyone whose supermarket is asafetida deficient can just click to sites that will ship the pungent powder overnight.

No longer do origin-conscious cooks have to abandon all hope of re-creating a dish for lack of ingredients or understanding, or settle for recipes made so bland we could be eating anywhere. As it has with political news and starlets’ sex videos, the Internet is removing the traditional filters between information and user. No editor is deciding to omit the nigella seeds because most of us would never know the difference. (Twenty years ago, I remember, most “Mexican” cookbooks never bothered with chipotles or cilantro.)

Easily navigated sites such as www.tarladalal.com make “How to Cook Anything” look like “Cooking for Dinosaurs.” Just in the last couple of years the Internet has evolved into a more orderly, more expansive resource, and search engines such as Google will take you anywhere straightaway. Web addresses have gotten simpler. (Forget http and tricky colons and backslashes even www no longer is always necessary.) The most isolated cooks and remote destinations are setting up sophisticated sites with authentic recipes. And to top it off, both printers and Internet access seemingly get faster every week.

On sites such as www.1worldrecipes.com, though, you can find the kinds of dishes that are hidden in the crude little cookbooks I’ve brought home from individual islands in the Caribbean, and the ones in Italian or Spanish I’ve invested in in Europe. On this site, a dish called feroce d’avocat, avocado with crab and super-hot Scotch bonnet peppers, replicates one I know from Grenada, for instance. I also found the national dish of Curacao there: keshi yena, a whole round of Edam stuffed with a chicken picadillo with raisins and olives, then baked. I could almost have saved myself a cookbook from that trip.

Other options are literally site-specific. If you want to try the best dish from Lanzarote, in the Canary Islands, the official tourism site (www.discoverlanzarote .com) includes the very same recipe I had to buy in a cookbook. It shows photos and directions for making papas arrugadas with two mojos -- potatoes cooked in salt water until they wrinkle, then dunked in garlicky green and red salsas.

Then there are all the huge sites designed for heat-seeking chefs rather than home cooks these link to good recipe databases. The site www.culinaryforum.com will hook you up with a dozen or more solid sites, while www.chef2chef.net is a virtual atlas of promising sites.

The Internet is an especially valid passport to Italy. For all the superb regional cookbooks in print these days, there are probably more websites with distinct advantages. Not only are they easier to search (no index can compare with a computer) but they also lean more toward exotica. On www.capriflavors.com, for instance, I found a good rendition of spaghetti aum aum, with a cheesy eggplant sauce I ate repeatedly on Capri. The site www.italianmade.com sponsored by the Italian Trade Commission, also has almost as many regional specialties as Italy has pastas, including sweet pumpkin tortelloni and buttery fontina gnocchi -- and a very useful glossary.

Commercial sites turn out to be surprisingly good sources of authentic recipes. The site www.agferrari.com is in business to sell Italian products, particularly high-end oils and vinegars, but its recipe collection is impressive. It’s where I finally found sgroppino al limone, an amazing drink from the Veneto made with Prosecco, vodka and lemon sorbet that I first tasted on the Sicilian island of Pantelleria. Neither my Venice souvenir cookbook nor my Pantelleria one included it, and I had to get an Italian I met on the island to e-mail me his idea of a recipe.

Unfortunately, it only listed ingredients, so I made a drink that was about 60% alcohol. Italians may cook by feel, but Americans need proportions. Agferrari provided a real recipe, one I was confident enough to tweak (adding more fizzy Prosecco, for starters).

For innovative recipes, sites focused on restaurants, run by either individuals or groups, can open up new worlds of contemporary cooking. The site www.miettas.com, set up by a restaurant guide, is a good destination for anyone wondering what’s cooking in Australia (and it’s not kangaroo). Even though Australian cookbooks are becoming internationally available, the cuisine there changes as fast as ours does, and this site reflects the situation. You can find any number of over-the-top creations by chefs making the most of local ingredients, both exotic, like yabbies (river crustaceans) and mainstream, like goat cheese.

Chefs who see themselves as the next Mario also are producing sites with serious recipes, letting patrons reconnect back home. One of the better destinations for anyone who will never make it to Northern Ireland is www.gourmetireland.com, run by Paul and Jeanne Rankin, a legendary chef couple who use local foraged foods in 21st century ways. Ten years ago, I had to tote their two cookbooks all the way from Belfast after a stunning meal at their Michelin one-star Roscoff, and now their latest concoctions (celery leaf tempura, smoked haddock hash) are a click away. Then there’s www.sanjeevkapoor.com, which showcases India’s celebrity chef whose food I liked at Grain of Salt in Calcutta -- dishes like fish curry and corn and paneer croquettes.

My ignorant American side tends to give the highest ratings to sites that are all in English, but most do have a translation option. In many cases, though, you might be better off getting out your old travel dictionary. Some enticing sites a French friend swears by, such as www .gastronomie.com and www.marmiton .com, are excellent only for Francophones -- the English phrases are laughable. (Marmiton has recipes with titles such as Pot With the Angels and Typed Express Train one called Soup Dawn ends with this mysterious instruction: “Add to the cooking of vegetables a calf bulge which will be able to consume itself hot or cold.”)

Unlike cookbooks, websites are usually updated, and regularly. Errors can get fixed, and many sites are as interactive as Tarla Dalal’s. Some, like 1worldrecipes .com, let users rate recipes. (A suspicious number, I have to say, hold five stars.)

Unfortunately, the feedback is sometimes essential. Recipes published without that old filter -- the editor -- tend to pick up glitches. Even the keshi yena recipe, which is identical on at least a dozen websites, is troublesome. The massive filling overflows the cheese, and the cheese can melt from your oven halfway to Willemstad. The flavors are exceptional, though, and the one recipe that advised using layers of sliced cheese rather than a whole round turned out to be the solution in the L.A. Times Test Kitchen. Not surprisingly, the layered effect was actually the way I had encountered the dish in Curacao, although there it had banana leaves enclosing both cheese and filling.

Most sites are free, but some charge a fee for maximum access. Tarladalal.com offers a fair number of the author’s recipes and a huge database of those contributed by readers, but if you want more of the real deal it will cost you $25 for six months or $40 for a year. As a convert to curries, I thought it was worth the price. Dalal’s “Rajasthani Cookbook,” from one of the more seductive regions of India, costs about $5, but that’s in a bookstore in Bombay. You won’t find it on www.amazon.com at any price. (The few titles by Dalal that are available are not, shall we say, her masterworks.)

The only risk of traveling virtually and cooking locally is that you may not stop with authentic recipes and no-substitutions ingredients. Soon you’ll want the real equipment. I’m the new owner of a kadai, the Indian wok, which is the best tool for deep frying in nominal oil. I saw it in action in Bangalore and then online and had to have it. Now I’m thinking about tracking down some of the wines I have had to carry home cushioned in my dirty laundry from far-flung places. I know Lanzarote’s El Grifo is out there in cyberspace somewhere.

That little “continue shopping” button you see while looking at recipes can be dangerous. Only on a real trip can you delude yourself into believing money is no issue.


Watch the video: Ρεβύθια σούπα με ταχίνι και λεμόνι! (September 2021).