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A Fish Dinner in Memison

Soup without shopping

Rating: 2 votes, 1.00 average.
by , January 12th, 2015 at 02:13 PM (30919 Views)
Here's a good cold- or hot-weather soup that uses only ingredients you probably already have: Canned tomatoes, canned garbanzos (chickpeas), canned chicken stock, olive oil, garlic, dried rosemary (fresh is better, but what the hell). We always have frozen chicken stock on hand, but as the recipe suggests, you can use a chicken bouillon cube, or Better Than Bouillon, or canned College Inn Chicken Broth. Doesn't take long either; if you're using canned chickpeas rather than dried, the whole thing should be about an hour from opening the cans until serving. Marcia has some notes on this soup at the end of the recipe. From Marcella Hazan's Classic Italian Cook Book:

Zuppa di ceci (Chick-pea Soup)
Marcella Hazan, The Classic Italian Cook Book

For 4 to 6 persons
¾ cup dried chick-peas or 2 sixteen-ounce cans chick-peas
4 whole cloves garlic, peeled
⅓ cup olive oil
1½ teaspoons finely crushed rosemary leaves, almost powder fine
⅔ cup canned Italian tomatoes, roughly chopped, with their juice
1 cup Homemade Meat Broth (page 14) or 1 bouillon cube dissolved in 1 cup water
Salt, if necessary
Freshly ground pepper, about 4 twists of the mill

1. If you are using dried chick-peas you must first soak them overnight. Put them in a large enough bowl, add water to cover by 2 inches, and let them soak all night in a warm corner of the kitchen. (Over the gas pilot would be an excellent place, but do not use a plastic bowl )

2. The following morning preheat the oven to 325̊. Discard the water in which the chick-peas have soaked, put them in a medium-sized stockpot, add enough water to come up 1 inch above the chick-peas (do not add salt), and bring them to a boil on top of the stove. Cover tightly and cook in the middle level of the oven for 1½ hours, or until the chick-peas are tender. ( At this stage they are almost exactly equivalent to the canned variety, except that they are not salted and have slightly better texture. Canned chickpeas are very convenient, but they are also considerably more expensive. Which ones to use will have to be your decision. It doesn't matter to the soup.) I always peel chick-peas before using them in soup, but it is a chore, and if you'd rather put up with the peels than with the chore you can omit it.

3. Sauté the garlic cloves in the olive oil in a heavy casserole over medium-high heat. When the garlic is well browned remove it. Add the crushed rosemary leaves to the oil, stir, then add the chopped tomatoes with their juice. Cook over medium heat for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until the tomatoes separate from the oil.

4. Add the drained chick-peas and cook for 5 minutes, turning them in the sauce. Add the broth or the dissolved bouillon cube, bring to a boil, cover, and keep at a steady, moderate boil for 15 minutes. Taste and correct for salt, add freshly ground pepper, and allow to boil about 1 minute more, uncovered. Serve hot. If you are making the soup ahead of time, add the salt and pepper when you warm it up.

Marcia's notes:

Try dissolving an anchovy or two (or a little anchovy paste) in the oil. This adds umami and in small quantities will escape the notice of people who think they hate anchovies.

2 cans chickpeas, 2 cups stock (homemade chicken is best), 1 cup tomatoes. Add a bit of Melinda’s or Marie Sharp’s hot sauce, just enough to brighten the flavor without making it hot.

Stir olive oil and tomato mixture to blend. It will not do so completely but do your best; a wire whisk works well. There’s no reason to discard the garlic; mush it up in the mixture.


  1. surreal's Avatar
    What's the point of so much oil? How does that make it better?
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