Thursday, December 20, 2007

Vegetable Chickpea Soup with Rustic Rosemary Bread

About 4:oo pm today, dear daughter telephoned me at work. She had managed to sweet talk her father into driving her and two girlfriends to the mall so that they could finish their Christmas shopping. This would have brought me to my knees, no question, but the Ex managed to complete this onerous task relatively unscathed. DD told me not to worry about dinner since they were at the mall and she wasn't hungry anyway. I understood her to mean that she and her father would get dinner at the mall.

They were home when I got home from work. DD was in her room, studying for her finals tomorrow and TE was watching something military-like TV. I saw that the kitchen needed to be cleaned up from whatever they ate during the day and began doing that, and as I put things away, I mentioned to TE that DD had said not to bother with dinner. He was surprised, and he was hungry for dinner. Yikes!

I opened the fridge and surveyed the contents. Two loaves of rustic rosemary bread. Lots of veggies. Hm.... vegetable soup with rosemary bread. Yes, that's it! I started throwing things in the pot and in about 35 or 40 minutes, I had a delicious pot of fresh vegetable soup. This is what I did:

Vegetable Chickpea Soup

1 medium onion, chopped
2 large carrots, sliced in half moons
2 large stalks celery, sliced
3 medium potatoes, scrubbed and cut in 1/2 inch cubes
3 cloves garlic
4 large leaves collard greens, deveined, halved and cut into ribbons
2 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs Herbes de Provence
2 1/2 quarts vegetable broth
salt and pepper
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes in juice
1 15 oz can chickpeas
In the bottom of the soup pot, swirl the olive oil and saute the onions over medium heat. While they are cooking, prep the rest of the vegetables in the order given, adding them to the pot when sliced, each in its turn. Season the veggies well with salt and pepper and the Herbes de Provence. Add in the can of tomatoes together with their juice, and the drained chickpeas. Discard the chickpea liquid. Add in the broth and simmer for 20 or 25 minutes until the vegetables are well cooked but not falling apart. Taste for seasoning and adjust to your taste.
If your broth isn't flavorful enough, you could add a few dried mushrooms crumbled into the broth at the beginning, or even broth powder.
We really enjoyed this soup a lot, and it had a surprisingly rich flavor for the amount of time that it cooked. We have enough left over for lunches tomorrow, and I'll put a serving or two in the freezer for later on in January when I need something to take to work for lunch.
I always have potatoes, onions, carrots, celery, chickpeas and canned tomatoes in my house, so I guess I can have this soup any time that I want!
This just goes to show you that freshly cooked food is inexpensive, is delicious, is no trouble, and does not have to take a long time to cook!

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