Carrot and Chickpea Soup

We had lunch at 4pm today.  Is it still lunch when you eat at 4pm?  Is it still lunch if you eat it after an afternoon nap?  Regardless, it was the second meal of the day, so we’re going to call it lunch.

Earlier in the week I cooked a whole mess o’ chickpeas.  I intended to make a dish from my new Essential New York Times Cookbook, but the beef I pulled out of the freezer was a bit past freezer burned.  Oops.  Instead the chickpeas lingered in the fridge until this morning, when I was determined to find something delicious to do with them.  Enter this soup.

Roasted Carrot Soup with Smoked Paprika
Photo by HealthHomeHappy.com

The photo above is of a different carrot soup, so please just imagine the paprika coloring the soup a deep orange-red, rather than serving as a garnish.  And the creaminess? Just as pictured.  Credit for the cray-cray creaminess of this soup goes to Shane, who cranked the hell out of the food mill to force a pound each of chickpeas and carrots into a velvet puree.  We could’ve used the food processor, but the last few times I’ve put soup through it, I’ve ended up with liquid everywhere.  So good work, Shane!

Creamy Carrot and Chickpea Soup
Adapted from The Food Matters Cookbook, as posted on Mark Bittman’s website

2 tablespoons olive oil – reduced from 1/4 cup
2 onions, chopped
1 pound carrots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and black pepper
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons smoked paprika (pimenton)
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock – reduced from 6 cups
2 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas – instead of 1 cup uncooked
1 cup orange juice

1. Warm the oil in a large pot over medium heat, then add the onions, carrots, garlic, and a generous amount of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions and carrots have colored, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the cumin and paprika and cook, stirring, for another 30 seconds or so. Add the stock and chickpeas. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down so the mixture bubbles gently but steadily. Cook until the chickpeas are very soft, 20-30 minutes. When the chickpeas are very tender, add the orange juice, then taste and adjust the seasoning. Puree the soup in batches in a blender, food processor, or food mill if you’re crazy.

Bittman suggests serving garnished with chopped (toasted?) almonds and parsley – we ate it with crusty bread and a drizzle (or more) of olive oil. The recipe yielded 8 cups soup, half of which we’ve frozen for later. Good stuff!

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