If it seems like this blog is fast becoming a list of things you can do with broccoli intermingled with the occasional cake, all I can say is, I’m sorry. I’m pretty sure, when I look back on this year that is one of the ways I will remember it. I will think of stalks of broccoli chopped into a salad or dunked in hummus eaten in hotel rooms or on a bench outside an archive somewhere in America. And, I will remember the cakes I cooked in New Haven as I tried to reestablish my presence in the kitchen.
Today though, I have a recipe that unites those two instincts. It’s both an easy lunch and a recipe that let’s you make your kitchen smell good. It turns out that when you winterize hummus and broccoli you get something much steamier, pun intended. This soup is a little boozy, velvety in texture, and seems like it deserves to be eaten with enough care to require utensils. I found it in the February issue of Bon Appetite on my flight to California and I ripped it out immediately. Since I got home last Sunday, I have eaten it every day for lunch.
One more thing about this recipe: I know that when people write lists of 10 ways to be a successful food blogger, picking a fight with Smitten Kitchen is not at the top of any of them. But, if, like me, you recently learned that you have to peel your chickpeas to make ethereally smooth hummus and thought, “Well, I guess I’ll never have that,” I have your answer. I have been slyly dunking crackers into my refrigerated pot of this soup all week. Seriously, it turns out that cooking your chickpeas in wine and broth makes for a dreamy, creamy hummus. It may not be “ethereal” but is extremely smooth. You will notice that when you puree the soup at the end of this recipe you add water to get it to the consistency you want. I see no reason why, if you wanted to skip the soup phase of this recipe, you couldn’t just skip adding water to the puree and go straight for the hummus. That said, it’s gross out. Make soup.
Chickpea Soup (Adapted from Bon Appetite, February 2013)
– 1 1/2 cups dried chickpeas
– 3 tablespoons olive oil
– 2 yellow onions
– 4 garlic cloves
– 1 sprig thyme
– 1 cup dry white wine (The Bon Appetite recipe calls for only 1/2 a cup; I thought that looked off when I added it to the pot and was happy I doubled it.)
– 4 cups chicken broth. (Bon Appetite also called for vegetable broth, which I’m sure would be fine.)
– 1 bunch of broccoli
– Red pepper flakes
– Salt to taste
* Soak the chickpeas. (I always quick soak my beans because, you know, I don’t plan ahead. Also, I don’t see any argument for doing the longer soak. To quick soak your chickpeas add your dry chickpeas to a pot, cover them in water, bring to a boil, let the beans boil for three minutes, and then turn off the heat and cover for an hour. After an hour, drain the beans. Then you’re ready to go.)
* Roughly chop the onions and smash the garlic.
* Heat oil in pan over medium heat and add onions, garlic, and thyme sprig. Cook until onions are soft and starting to brown, stirring often. This took me about ten minutes.
* Add chickpeas to pot and toss with onion-garlic mixture thoroughly.
* Add wine to pot and turn up heat so it boils quickly. Boil for about 2 minutes until the wine is reduced by half. (I always have trouble telling if a liquid is reduced by half. Here, I don’t think it matters that you get this exactly right.)
* Add broth and bring to boil.
* Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until chickpeas are very soft, about 1 1/2-2 hours.
* Puree soup with immersion blender or in batches in a blender until smooth. Add water as you go to get it to the thickness you want. (Or don’t add water and go straight for hummus.)
* When you’re ready to eat, cut your broccoli into florets and steam quickly, until tender (about 4 minutes). Serve garnished with broccoli, olive oil, salt, and red pepper flakes.