Sunday, March 1, 2015

Chickpea and Swiss Chard Ribbolita

Since the weather outside is frightful the aroma in my kitchen should be delightful. A hearty soup bubbling on the fire will achieve poetic justice. I read an Ottolenghi soup recipe but as usual I am missing several key ingredients. Not despairing, I rearrange items according to the contents of the fridge. I have several leafy greens, heeding nutritional advice. A big bunch of Swiss chard is my go to veggie this week. I use it in pancakes, with butternut squash in a quick saute and now, slivered, adds a wonderful green dimension to soup. 

Onions, garlic, celery and carrots glisten with a thin coating of olive oil. My trusty bags of homegrown frozen tomatoes provide ample flavor. Splashes of Marsala offer a quirky taste. Fresh herbs like thyme and parsley give a peppery taste to the broth. I rinse a can of chickpeas and add them to the bubbling broth. A huge heap of slivered Swiss chard goes in next. Ribbolita is usually thickened with peasant bread. But I love the tangy taste of sourdough.  I toast  and dice some slices. These go in last. A quick stir and soup is served.

Serves 4

2 tablespoons Olive oil
I Onion
2 cloves Garlic
1 large rib Celery
1 Carrot
1/2 cup Parsley
1/4 cup Marsala
2 tablespoons Tomato Puree
5-6 sprigs Thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried Oregano
2 large Tomatoes
1 can Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
5-6 leaves Swiss Chard
4 cups Water
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/2 teaspoon ground Black Pepper
2 large slices Sourdough Bread

Chop onion into small pieces.

Slice garlic, celery and carrots into small chunks.

Heat olive oil in a deep saucepan or Dutch oven.

Drop onion and garlic into oil and saute for a few minutes till onion is translucent.

Add celery and carrot. Saute. 

Tomato puree and Marsala goes in and gets stirred for a few minutes.

Chop parsley roughly. Add to vegetables.

Remove thyme leaves off the stems and add to saute.

Rough chop tomatoes and add to saute along with oregano. Let tomatoes cook till they become pulpy.

At this point add water, rinsed chickpeas and seasonings. Let soup come to a low boil.

Wash and cut Swiss chard into thin slivers. Add to bubbling soup.

Let soup bubble on a medium flame for 10 minutes.

Crisp up sourdough bread either over an open flame or in a toaster. Cut into 1 inch pieces.

Add bread to soup, cook for a few minutes and serve the soup piping hot.

This unending winter heaps it's snowy powder on us once again. I look out at a pristine white backyard. Then I look down at my soup bowl with its delightful shades of tomato red, chickpea beige, carrot orange and chard green. Everyone is 'bowled' over by my hearty ribbolita!