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a simple post on a simple, luscious soup

dear readers, after the last two posts and all those   w o r d s   I must have bored you to teary yawns! Don’t think I don’t care about such things. I’m the first second to recognize you deserve a break!

So here, just one simple recipe, one photo and very few words from spree.

(I can’t launch into this recipe without first telling you –  I am so incorrigible! – that a recent study names beans as one of the top food categories implicated in promoting brain health into old age. The recommendation was for one to two servings per week (at a minimum.) Along with them,  the “super foods”. You know the ones.)

So, with very few words, may I simply offer you a bowl of luscious, comforting, healthful and delicious soup? Here, first…let me swirl my best olive oil on it. You deserve nothing less!

Chickpea Soup

4 servings

  • 2 cups (300 g) dried chickpeas
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove (or 2), chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 fresh thyme sprig
  • a good pinch of cumin
  • a good pinch paprika
  • Chicken stock or vegetable stock (water is ok)
  • Salt & white pepper to taste
  • Your very finest olive oil (the one you’d serve the queen, or your future mother-in-law)

A day before, soak the beans in a large bowl. Fill with fresh cold water by several inches, and allow to sit overnight.

(I recently read – in Cook’s Illustrated – that if you add a ribbon of Kombu seaweed to your dried beans, you can actually do without the soaking, and it has a way of eliminating some of the side-effects as well as improving the texture of all beans cooked with it. I’ll try that next time. Too many words!)

Drain the chickpeas and rinse them. Tumble them into a large saucepan along with the onion, (I like to lightly saute mine first), garlic, bay leaf, thyme, cumin and paprika. Don’t add salt at this time. Add enough stock to cover the chickpeas and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently until beans are very tender – 40 minutes to 1 hour, unless the chickpeas were a bit older in which case, a bit longer.

Pluck out the herbs. Blend thoroughly in a blender, until creamy smooth.  Strain back into the saucepan. (If you used a VitaMix, straining isn’t necessary.) Reheat and taste, adding salt and pepper, perhaps a touch more cumin, as desired.

Ladle into bowls and garnish with a dash of paprika, or a scattering of thyme leaves, and a good swirl of excellent olive oil.

(This may not sound special, but oh it is.)

Borrowed, gratefully, from

French Taste – Elegant Everyday Eating

a most delightful cookbook by Laura Calder

29 Comments Post a comment
  1. Don #

    What a scrumptious way to be brain healthy

    January 10, 2012
    • Truly! it’s like a no-brainer, right? 😉

      January 10, 2012
  2. Sounds yummy, and that swirl of olive oil is so beautiful. I love this photo!

    January 10, 2012
    • Thanks, Ashley! The soup tastes better than its photo tells.

      January 10, 2012
  3. It looks and sounds supremely velvety, which is never a bad thing in a creamy soup!!

    January 10, 2012
    • Velvety is precisely the word! I should have run this by you first! 😉

      January 10, 2012
  4. I just prepared a black bean soup, which is great for a cold winter night. But your soup look so elegant and light. I love chickpeas and am delighted that they’ll keep me healthy until it no longer matters.


    January 10, 2012
    • You’ve hit upon it Ronnie…this soup doesn’t have the feel of a hearty winter soup. It’s not robust and strongly flavored. It’s delicate, and, as weird as it sounds, a tiny bit elegant. I’m glad that I have the opportunity in the “comments” to use more words! 🙂

      January 10, 2012
  5. This soup looks oh, so very good, Spree! As Mom used to say, “Stick to your bones good!” Now, about your last 2 posts. I am familiar with both recipes and you did an excellent job detailing the processes. An experienced baker will appreciate your thoroughness and a novice baker’s chances of creating a good loaf will increase if s/he follows your lead. Whether it’s baking bread or frying an egg, it’s our early successes that encourage us to continue cooking. Both are jobs well-done in my book. 🙂

    January 10, 2012
    • What a kind word, John! It hit its target. Thank you!

      January 10, 2012
  6. You’re incorrigible?? I think not! I love all of your w o r d s.. and savor every single one.. like I will savor every spoonful of this delicious soup:)xo Smidge

    January 10, 2012
    • Smidge, you have s u c h a way of lifting spirits! You do it time and again, and I’m so grateful! xo

      January 11, 2012
  7. Love the way you describe making the soup “tumble them…”! We eat LOADS of chick peas here in Spain but never blended, I really should do something about that and make this soup next time. it looks so silky and gorgeous.

    January 11, 2012
    • Yes, Chica, I think you should! 😉 and with the fabulous olive oils you have at your fingertips, there on your sunny mountain in Spain, oh!! You Really should!

      January 11, 2012
  8. This soup looks delicious and ever so healthy. My kind of recipe! I enjoy your writing; your words complement the photography and always tell an appealing story. That said, it is satisfying from time to time to post something shorter and just let the recipe and photos do most of the talking, isn’t it? By the way, I have Laura Calder’s elegant cookbooks and like to follow her television show.

    January 11, 2012
    • Oh your comments are kind – thank you so much. (And yes, I agree with you…after the last lengthy posts, this was a bit if fresh air for me too.) Laura Calder’s show is the only cooking show I record to watch when I have a few moments. I don’t like to miss a one. Such a lovely style she has!

      January 11, 2012
  9. I use chick peas a lot but have never blended them smooth like this in a soup. I brought some pumpkin seed oil back from Austria and I think I will drizzle it on the soup.

    January 11, 2012
    • Pumpkin seed oil – never tasted. I hope you’ll let me know what you think if you try on this soup.

      January 11, 2012
  10. This is gorgeous!

    January 11, 2012
    • Thanks, Greg! It’s ever more gorgeous on the tongue! I just love this soup.

      January 11, 2012
  11. I like your words. This soup looks fantastic, Spree. Stupidly fantastic.

    January 11, 2012
  12. I LOVE chickpeas, so I must try this! Yum!

    January 11, 2012
  13. What a beautiful looking soup and yes, beans are so good for you. I have a lot of cans of chickpeas in my pantry. I’m sure I could make this using tinned chickpeas.

    January 11, 2012
    • I have nothing at all against canned chickpeas! I use them quite often. Your comment gives me the opportunity to mention something though (that after years and years of cooking) I’ve learned…as with all recipes with such a short list of ingredients, every One of them assumes more importance in the finished dish. This soup is quite inexpensive…but I’ll only use the best chicken stock I can, only use home cooked chickpeas, and the quality of the olive oil is especially critical. Does that all sound fussy? Probably. And the only reason I’m willing to appear so picky is because the soup positively sings because of it. 🙂 all that being said, if I had a sudden and irresistible urge for this soup, I’d likely pull a can of chickpeas from the pantry! Thanks so much for commenting!

      January 12, 2012
  14. Going to try this, simple is best, that photo really tempts you!

    January 12, 2012
  15. I’ve tagged you to answer the Ten Questions currently being passed around the table, my friend! Hope you don’t mind sharing your own answers with the rest of us Inquiring Minds. 🙂


    January 12, 2012
  16. Oh….. I am going to spend hours here! Hours!

    January 14, 2012
    • Well, if that’s the case, we’ll be trading places at each others’ spaces! 🙂

      January 15, 2012

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