chorizo and chickpea soup

Aunt Suzy says . . . 

It’s soup Sunday up here in Minnesota! Waking up to minus 18 degrees (FAHRENHEIT!!) demands something warming. I recently found the soup cookbook, Soup Sisters and Broth Brothers Cookbook at my local library and since I’m always looking for a new twist on soup, I checked it out. This soup caught my eye because of lack of tomatoes and that fresh fennel was part of the base. I love tomatoes in soups, but it’s nice to have some tasty versions without. This was easy to make, even though it requires a lot of chopping. I made a huge pot and plan to freeze some of it, thinking it will freeze well. Enjoy with some crusty bread, a baguette or crostini and a nice white wine.

Chorizo and Chickpea Soup with Fennel

Ingredients – makes 5-8 servings

3-4 tablespoons olive oil

4-6 Spanish chorizo sausages, split lengthwise and sliced (we like Amylu Chicken Chorizo)

1 large onion

1-2 carrots, small dice

2-3 stalks celery, small dice

2-3 small fennel bulbs, cored, small dice

1-2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary

4-6 garlic cloves, minced

3/4-1 1/4 cup dry white wine

6-9 cups chicken stock, homemade or your favorite store-bought

Several sprigs thyme tied together with kitchen string

Salt and pepper to taste

3-4 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (2-3 small cans or cooked from dried)

Directions

Heat a stockpot or Dutch oven to medium high and coat with the olive oil. Add the sliced chorizo and saute till slightly browned. Note, this recipe uses Spanish style fully cooked chorizo, not Mexican chorizo which is raw. Remove from the pot with a slotted spoon and set aside. Turn the heat down to medium and add the onion, carrots, celery, rosemary and fennel. Saute until the vegetables start to soften 5-8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook a couple of more minutes. Add the white wine and simmer for a few minutes to burn off the alcohol. Add the chicken stock and the thyme. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer 20-30 minutes. Add the cooked chickpeas and simmer 10-20 more minutes to blend the flavors. Remove the thyme bundle before serving.

 

 

 

 

Chickpea and Swiss Chard Soup

Aunt Suzy says . . . 

This winter, Randy and I had what we called “Downton Abbey Dinner Date”.  We would record DA and I would cook a soup which we would have while we watched the latest installment, usually Wednesday evenings.  It was a lot of fun and  great to have warming soups during our coldest months. While I made a few standbys, I tried some new recipes including this one. Margaux had pinned this recipe a while back and while searching for something to cook it caught my eye. I thought it looked really good and that it would be a really quick weeknight meal. We made a number of adaptations to up the deliciousness, but still keeping fast and easy in mind.  How quickly you can make this is determined by how much you cook from scratch (chickpeas, e.g.) or how much you use canned/frozen ingredients.

Margaux says . . .

I don’t remember pinning this recipe, but I’m really glad Aunt Suzy brought it to my attention! I just made it last night and it was a hit with the whole family. My son loved that it was spicy, too…he’s very proud that he has a taste for spicy food. If you have someone in your family that is sensitive to spicy things, I would cut the red pepper flakes back to 1/4 tsp. I used fresh chard because I couldn’t find frozen in my grocery store, but I think using frozen is a great idea as a time saver, and I’ll be keeping my eyes out for frozen for the next time I make this.

Ingredients

5 1/2-6 cups cooked chickpeas (four 14-oz cans or 2 cups dried, cooked)

6-7 cups chicken stock, homemade or boxed (or Better than Bouillon no chicken broth for vegetarian)

3 tablespoons EV olive oil

1 onion, diced

1 carrot, small dice

1 celery rib, small dice

Swiss chard stems, diced (optional)

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes with juice

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Bay leaf

Small Parmesan rind, optional

1 bunch Swiss chard, stems removed and  leaves cut into 1-inch pieces or 1-2 bags frozen chopped Swiss chard (see above note about stems)

Salt & pepper

Cooked small pasta – elbows, fusilli or shells, optional (we like whole wheat shells)

Directions

If using dried chickpeas, cook according to directions. 2 cups dried will produce the amount  of cooked called for in this recipe. If using canned, drain and rinse.

Combine 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas and 1 cup chicken stock. Using a hand or regular blender, process until the texture is like oatmeal. Set aside.

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Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or soup pot. Add the onion, carrot, celery, chard stems, if using, and rosemary. Saute over medium heat for 5 or so minutes until softened. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juices and the pepper flakes. Stir for a couple of minutes. Add the pureed chickpea mixture, the remaining chicken stock, cooked chickpeas, bay leaf and the Parmesan rind, if using.  The amount of stock you will use depends on whether you like your soups on the thick or thin side. Bring to a boil, turn down heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Add the Swiss chard and cook for another 10-15 minutes until cooked but not mushy. Remove the Parmesan rind and bay leaves before serving.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to directions until al dente.

To serve, place a little pasta in the bottom of the soup bowls and ladle the soup into the bowl. Serve with baguette if desired.

 

 

Salmon with Chick Peas and Mustard Greens - Sweet & Savory Kitchens

Aunt Suzy says . . .

This recipe caught my eye because Randy has been talking up trying the slow-roasting method for cooking salmon. Our usual approach is high-heat roasting for a very short period of time.  We also love mustard greens; this is an unusual, but ultimately delicious, use of them.  As Margaux says, the slow-roasting yields a tender and, we felt, silky textured piece of salmon. The original recipe called for 4 pieces of salmon, but we both made it with 2, using the full quantities of ingredients for everything else. If making with more pieces of salmon, we recommend upping the amounts of the other ingredients. We served with Green Rice and a dry French rosé wine.

Margaux says…

We loved this dish!  I’ve never made salmon slow roasted, and I thought it was really tender and delicious, and not dry at all.  The sauce was divine.  I only made two pieces of salmon, but still made the full recipe of the chickpeas and sauce.  The leftover chickpeas and greens made a nice lunch the next day, and we ended up using almost all of the sauce because it was really good over the rice I made to accompany this as well.

Slow-Roasted Salmon with Mustard Greens, Chickpeas and Lemon-Mustard Sauce

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons plus olive oil
1 15.5-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed
½ teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 bunch small mustard greens, stems removed, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon honey dissolved in 3 tablespoons hot water
2 4-6-oz. salmon fillets
1/2 small shallot, very finely chopped
Juice of  1 lemon, or more to taste
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon honey 
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed, patted dry
¼ teaspoon crushed red chile pepper

SALMON

Preheat oven to 250°. Lightly coat a large baking dish with oil. Place chickpeas in a medium bowl and mash about half of them with a fork. Remove skins that have come loose. Add the cumin and 1 tablespoon olive oil, stir to thoroughly combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer chickpea mixture to the prepared baking dish.

Heat remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the garlic, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the mustard greens and cook, tossing, until slightly wilted, about 1 minute. Add honey water and season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing, until greens are completely wilted, 2-3 more minutes. Transfer to dish with chickpea mixture.

Season salmon with salt and pepper then arrange over greens and chickpea mixture.  Bake until salmon is opaque in the center, 25-35 minutes, depending on thickness. (Ours were relatively thin sockeye salmon pieces which were fully cooked at 25 minutes.)

Slow Roasted Salmon with Mustard Greens and Chickpeas

LEMON DRESSING AND FINAL ASSEMBLY

Whisk shallot, 1/4 cup olive oil, mustard, and 1/2 teaspoon honey in a liquid measuring cup. Season with salt and pepper. Gradually whisk in the lemon juice. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Heat the vegetable oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the capers and crushed red pepper and cook until opened and crisp, about 30 seconds; drain on paper towels.

Place the greens and chickpea mixture on individual serving plates. Top with a piece of the salmon then drizzle with the dressing and top with capers.

Slow Roasted Salmon with Mustard Greens and Chickpeas

Snowy Day

Aunt Suzy says . . .

Today demanded soup, but I’m in the mood for spring now that it’s March.  I would not say spring is around the corner here in Minnesota as you can see by this predawn photo, but enough winter already!  So here’s a soup that’s, well . . .a soup, but with many ingredients that taste of spring.  Perfect for a day like today!  Both Randy and I thought we almost couldn’t get enough.  He wanted me to make sure to say that, in his opinion, this must be made with homemade stock, feeling that boxed or canned would diminish the light spring-like quality we loved so much.  He also had an initial bad reaction to the idea of lettuce in a soup, saying that it’s like putting walnuts on a salad.  After a few spoonfuls of the soup, he said that he must like walnuts on salad – hehe.  So don’t be put off by the cooked romaine lettuce – it adds a light crunch and lovely vegetal flavor.  Enjoy with a lemony Pinot Grigio and a baguette!

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This recipe was inspired by one that I saw in a Food 52 email yesterday, but is highly adapted in both method and ingredients.  Serves 8 (or 6 hearty eaters)

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 scallions, white and green separated and sliced

2 stalks celery, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 small zucchini, small dice

1/2 teaspoon each kosher salt and ground black pepper

9 cups chicken stock

1 small can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

zest of 1 lemon, Meyer if available

1 1/2-2 cups cooked green beans, cut in 2-inch pieces

2 cups cooked shredded chicken

1/4 cup each fresh mint and fresh parsley, chopped (or more to taste)

2 cups dried pasta, small shapes (I used gemelli)

2 cups shredded romaine lettuce

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Heat oil over medium heat in a large soup pot or Dutch oven.  When shimmering, add the white part of the scallions and the celery.  Cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes until softened.  Add the garlic  zucchini, salt and pepper and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, stirring.  Add the chicken stock and chickpeas and simmer for about 10 minutes to blend flavors.

Meanwhile, cook pasta al dente according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.

Add the chicken, green beans, herbs and lemon zest to the soup pot and simmer till heated through, about 5 minutes.  Be careful not to over-stir.

Right before serving, stir in the lettuce and lemon juice.  Cook until heated through, about 2-3 minutes.

To serve, place a handful of cooked pasta into the bottom of a soup bowl.  Ladle the soup into the bowl over the pasta.  Garnish with a few slices of the green part of the scallions (and a few red pepper flakes if desired).

Creamy Chickpea Pasta with Garlic-Rosemary Oil

Aunt Suzy says . . .

We’ve started something new here at Sweet and Savory Kitchens – Pasta Wednesdays. The idea is something quick and easy to make on a weeknight without sacrificing freshness and deliciousness. I got the idea when I made the Garlic and Kale Linguine a while back, so technically that could be considered our first Pasta Wednesday post. While this recipe (from last month’s Bon Appetit) isn’t quite as fast, it definitely fits. It caught my eye because I had some Garlic-Rosemary oil in the fridge left over from when I last made this soup. The quantities in that recipe always make more of the oil than we use at the time so I was happy to learn of a good additional use for it. And this is good! This can be a weeknight main dish or you can serve it, as we did, as a side to roast chicken or fish. Delicious with a creamy Italian white wine.

Margaux says…

I’m loving Pasta Wednesdays! Mainly because it helps give me a sort of direction when I’m meal planning for the week. We do Meatless Mondays at my house, so that’s two days now that I have narrowed down a little more. Now maybe I should add a pizza night in there, to make my job even easier…

This dish is fantastic…even my finicky 4-year-old gave it a thumbs up. We ate it as a main dish, with plenty of leftovers (which I love…makes lunches easy!!) I made it with white beans and penne pasta (as seen on Smitten Kitchen…see cook’s notes below). The white beans because that’s what I had on hand, and the penne because that’s what my son chose, and these days I’ll make anything he picks just so he’ll eat what I make for us. I probably would have chosen rotini, because i like the way sauces like this stick to the pasta. It was really great with the white beans, but next time I’m going to try it with the chick peas, which sounds really fantastic.

Use this recipe to make the Garlic-Rosemary Oil

1 medium onion, cut in chunks
1 medium carrot, peeled, cut in chunks
1 celery stalk, cut in chunks
4 whole garlic cloves
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cups water
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
10-ounces small pasta shapes (I used Lumachine – see Cook’s Notes)

Place the first 6 ingredients into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Place into a bowl and clean the food processor bowl. Set both aside. Alternatively, if you do not have a food processor, you can finely chop these ingredients and then blend together in a bowl.

Place the olive oil into a large heavy pot or skillet (I used a saute pan) over medium heat. Once shimmering add the chopped vegetables. Saute for 10 or so minutes, until golden, stirring regularly. Meanwhile, stir the tomato paste into 1 cup of water to blend. When vegetables are cooked, add the tomato water and blend thoroughly, scraping up any bits stuck to the pan. Let simmer until liquid has almost disappeared, 5-8 minutes.

Creamy Chickpea Sauce

Add the chickpeas and 2 cups water to the pan. Stir to blend and then simmer for 15 minutes covered and 5 or so uncovered. Put 1 cup of this mixture into the food processor and puree. (You could use a blender for this in the absence of a food processor.) Add back to the pan and stir to blend. Taste and add salt, if needed. I did not add salt to the sauce – even with rinsing, there was plenty of salt in the chickpeas.*

Meanwhile, cook the pasta al dente according to directions. I emphasize al dente because otherwise I think you could end up with a gloppy mess. Part of the goodness of this dish is mouth appeal, and you do not want to lose that with overcooked pasta! Reserve a cup of pasta water before draining. Add drained pasta and 1/2 cup pasta water to the chickpea sauce. Stir to blend, adding more pasta water if necessary to coat the pasta and attain a creamy consistency. Pass the Garlic-Rosemary oil so it can be drizzled on individual servings. Don’t hold back on this key component of the finished dish!

COOK’S NOTES: I was looking at Smitten Kitchen the other day and saw something that looked similar to this except with white beans and penne pasta. On closer look, it was her take on the Bon Appetit recipe. (You can check it out to see several great photos of the cooking process.) Regarding the pasta, the original recipe called for a full pound of Ditalini and suggested elbow macaroni as a substitute. I think any small pasta shape would work well. I cooked the whole pound as instructed, but felt that it was way too much pasta and didn’t stir it all into the sauce. I will definitely make this again and try whole wheat pasta, thinking it will add to both taste and texture.

*Margaux’s note on the salt…my boys like their food on the saltier side, so I definitely needed to add more salt. I added about a teaspoon of it.

Aunt Suzy says . . . 

This dish is a “Wow!” in so many ways.  First and foremost, it’s delicious!  But also easy, with a minimum of fuss.  I made a few adaptations from the original recipe in Bon Appetit.  This is also a great option for use of leftover cooked salmon instead of  cooking the salmon specifically for this dish.

You can see that we enjoyed it with a French rose wine, which was a perfect complement.  We served it with this favorite quinoa salad, Lemony Quinoa with Crunch, which also was a great companion.  The whole meal screamed spring, although I can’t wait to make it later in the summer when tomatoes are in season!

Recipe makes 4 main course servings

The Salmon

EV olive oil

2 small garlic cloves

Salt and pepper

1/2- 3/4 pound salmon fillet, preferably wild caught

Pre-heat the oven to 450° and place the oven rack in the top 3rd of the oven.  Line a baking sheet with foil.  Coat the salmon with a thin layer of olive oil.  (If using farm raised salmon, you can skip this step.) Press the garlic through a garlic press and spread over the salmon, then season with salt and pepper.  Bake in the oven for 8-12 minutes, depending on thickness of the salmon,  until salmon is medium rare (or to your desired doneness).  Cool slightly and then remove the skin and dark layer of flesh.  Set aside.

The Salad

3 tablespoons EV olive oil

Chickpeas from one large or two small  cans, drained, rinsed

2 cups chopped tomatoes (we used baby heirlooms from Trader Joe’s)

1/4 cup Niçoise olives or other small black olives

2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

2-3 tablespoons fresh orange juice

1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon capers in brine, drained and rinsed

1 tablespoon grated orange peel

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

1/4-1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the chickpeas and remaining ingredients except basil. Stir until tomatoes start to soften and the juice has thickened, 5-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the basil. Place desired quantity of salad on individual serving plates. Tear salmon into 1- to 1 1/2-inch pieces and scatter over the salad.  Can be served warm or at room temperature.

Aunt Suzy says . . .

The cold weather continues to drive us to make warming soups and stews.  This flavorful stew is easy to make – even when cooking the beans from dried vs. opening cans.  The basis for this stew is sofrito, a savory tomato base used in many Spanish dishes.  It’s also at the foundation of a lot of Caribbean cooking, but it means something very different there.  It makes me think I need to make a great Puerto Rican chicken dish I learned years ago using sofrito . . . but I digress!  This is a beautiful-to-look-at dish as well as tasty.  The original recipe was from a Food & Wine article on Familia Torres, a Catalan wine maker.  Today we served this stew with their Sangre de Toro wine, one of my favorite inexpensive reds – delish!  We loved the Arugula-Mint Salad from Sunday’s dinner so much that we’re having it again.  It’s the perfect, refreshing foil for a rich stew.

2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked and drained

1/4 cup EV olive oil

1 onion, small dice

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary

1 bay leaf

1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained, reserving 1 cup of the juice

3 soft Spanish chorizo sausages, split lengthwise then sliced in 1/4-inch half moons

1/2 pound baby spinach, tough stems removed

Prepare the chickpeas:  Place soaked beans in a pot with water to cover by 2 inches.  Bring to a boil, turn down heat and simmer till done, about 2 hours.  Drain the chickpeas, reserving 2 cups of the cooking water.  Set aside both the cooked beans and the water.  This can be done a day or two ahead of making the stew.

Prepare the stew:  Place the olive oil in a Dutch oven and heat to medium high.  Add the onion, rosemary and the bay leaf and saute, stirring constantly until soft.  Add the garlic and stir for a minute or two until fragrant.  Add the drained tomatoes, bring to a sizzle and cook, stirring, for another 5 minutes.  Add the 3 cups total liquid (1 cup tomato juice and 2 cups bean cooking liquid), the cooked beans and the chorizo.  Stir to blend, bring back to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.  This can also be done a day or two ahead.  The final step is to add the spinach, in 3 batches, stirring after each to blend.  Simmer for about 10 minutes to wilt the spinach, but be careful that it doesn’t disintegrate from overcooking.

NOTES ON INGREDIENTS AND AMOUNTS: The dried chickpeas added up to 5 1/2 cups cooked.  If you want to use canned chickpeas, you will need 3-4 15-ounce cans, drained and rinsed.  If using canned, I recommend using 2 cups chicken stock in place of the bean cooking liquid.  Make sure you are using (soft vs. dried) Spanish-style chorizo vs. Mexican.  Spanish is fully cooked and Mexican is fresh.  I used Chicken Chorizo from Trader Joe’s.  The original recipe called for a pound of spinach, but I think this is a lot – use your judgment!