Sunday, January 6, 2008

Chickpea-Noodle Soup with Fresh Rosemary Focaccia

It's been cold and raining all day, we have a crackling fire in the fireplace, and this afternoon the Chargers beat the Titans to advance in the AFC playoffs. Just when one might think the day couldn't possibly get any better, we had another amazing dinner courtesy of Veganomicon. Tonight we slurped and mmm'd our way through healthy helpings of Chickpea-Noodle Soup:

Chickpea-Noodle Soup

Serves 6
Time: 50 minutes

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced thin
  • 1 cup peeled, thinly sliced carrots (or chopped baby carrots)
  • 2 cloves garlic (I used 3 … mmm garlic)
  • 2 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
  • ½ teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed in your fingers (I used fresh)
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons mirin (optional)
  • 1/3 cup brown rice miso
  • 6 cups water or vegetable stock (I used water with vegan veggie bouillon)
  • 2 cups cooked dried chickpeas, or 1 (15-ounce) can, drained and rinsed
  • 6 ounces soba noodles (I used whole wheat spaghetti)

Preheat a soup pot over medium-high heat. Sauté the onions and carrots in the oil for about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, mushrooms, and herbs, and sauté for another 5 minutes. Deglaze the pot with the mirin (or just slash of water). Add the 6 cups of water and the chickpeas. Cover and bring to a boil.

Once the broth is boiling, break the soba noodles into thirds and throw them in. Lower the heat to medium so that the soup is at a low boil. Cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the miso and stir until it’s incorporated. Taste and adjust the salt, and add a little extra miso if you would like a stronger, saltier flavor.

We thought the salt was perfect - no need to add additional miso. The noodles slapped our faces as we ate which made us feel naughty and was delightfully messy. However next time, I'll break the noodles up into smaller pieces. This soup has the best flavor! It's almost good enough to inspire us to look forward to our next cold, just so we can eat it all day in sweats and fuzzy slippers. Almost.

With the soup, we ate Fresh Rosemary Focaccia:

Earlier in the day, I roasted garlic to add to this recipe. But even with the garlic and fresh rosemary from the garden, we thought it was a little bland. It was very good, as fresh bread almost always is, but not spectacular. In all fairness, however, it clearly states in Veganomicon that this recipe is "very basic" and would do well with altering and tinkering or served with hummus or some other sort of spread. I'll definitely make it again, because it was easy and yielded a beautiful loaf of bread, but next time I'll play with the recipe more. Herbed Focaccia? Cranberry Nut Focaccia? Apple Cinnamon Focaccia? Why not?

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