Hm. Not very attractive, is it? It kind of reminds me of a muddy sand that you might see on the side of the street. We shouldn’t judge based on looks, though. This soup filled the apartment with a really great smell while I was cooking it. A beautiful aromatic spice smell. I’m pretty happy with how this turned out. I didn’t really have any expectations, so it was interesting when I first tried it. There’s a nice spiciness towards the end from the Red Chili.
So would you like to know what I’m doing right now, as I write this post? I’m watching a strange thriller/surreal movie, I think. It’s only a few minutes in and it’s interesting so far, but I’ve just recently been warned that it’s… disturbing. Creepy. Perverse. Doesn’t that sound worrying? There are so many different things that could imply. I’m worried. I don’t do well with horror/thrillers in general and I’ve been peer pressured by my own family to watch it! So I’m using this post as a way to avert my eyes if necessary.
Oh no. Something’s happening. He just missed the warning sign. And now he’s in the house alone with the suspect. There’s yelling and worried dialogue over the phone. She just had a semi-psychotic look on her face. Oh no. I think the bad part is coming. Help! Don’t make me watch this! Please! Ahhhhhh!
Chickpea and Spinach Soup
Adapted from Casa Moro
450g Home-Cooked Chickpeas (see below) or two 400g Canned Chickpeas, rinsed and drained
150 ml Olive Oil (about 1/2 Cup)
300g Spinach, washed and drained well (several cups worth)
75g White Bread, crusts removed and cut into 2 cm cubes (about 2 slices)
3 Garlic Cloves, thinly sliced
3/4 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds
2 Heaped Tablespoons Roughly Chopped Fresh Oregano (I didn’t have any on hand, so I just used a little more dried)
1 Small Dried Red Chili, crumbled or a pinch or so of Red Pepper Flakes
1 Tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar (I used Sherry Vinegar)
700 to 800ml Water or Reserved Chickpea Cooking Liquid (about 1& 1/2 Cups)
60 Threads Saffron, infused in 4 Tablespoons Boiling Water*
1/2 Teaspoon Sweet Spanish Paprika
Sea Salt and Pepper to taste
A Dash of Cinnamon (optional)
*I did not add the Saffron out of fear. I have a fear of using Saffron that I need to get over. It’s just so expensive and I’m afraid I’ll mess it up! If you’ve got Saffron, though, go ahead and use it. It’s supposed to taste very nice, but I wouldn’t know…
If you are using dried Chickpeas, place them in a bowl with plenty of cold water and a pinch of baking soda (I don’t think that the baking soda is absolutely necessary) and leave to soak overnight. Drain in a colander, rinse well, then place in a large saucepan with half and onion or 1 head of garlic. Cover with 2L water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, skimming off any scum, for 1 to 2 hours or until soft and tender. Strain and reserve the liquid, if desired, to use later.
Place a large saucepan over a medium heat and add 2& 1/2 Tablespoons of the Olive Oil. When hot, add the Spinach with a pinch of Salt and stir well. Remove when the leaves are just tender and let cool. Chop quite finely and set aside.
Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Fry the Bread for about 5 minutes until golden brown all over, then add the Garlic and Cumin. When the garlic begins to color, add the Oregano and Chili and continue to cook until the garlic is brown. Transfer to a mortar or food processor along with the vinegar and mash to a paste. Put the bread mixture in a saucepan, add the drained Chickpeas, Water or Chickpea Liquid, Saffron infusion, and Paprika, and simmer for 10 minutes. Blend the Chickpeas in a blender or food processor until almost smooth, for texture, before adding them back to the pan. Season the soup with Salt and Pepper. At this point, we added a little bit of Ground Cinnamon as well. If the consistency is too thick (it should be a little thicker than heavy cream), add more water and mix in. Stir in the Spinach until it is heated through as well. Check the seasoning once more and serve.