Saturday we spent a lovely day at Mont Saint-Michel. The weather was perfect. I took lots of pictures. I am ready to write the post, but my poor laptop is in the Apple Hospital, and trying to post pictures on this old and decrepit computer is an exercise that involves frozen screens, twirling beach balls, and much gnashing of teeth. So I will wait for my laptop’s return to tell you about Mont Saint-Michel. In the meantime, let me tell you about yesterday.
Paris has had an unusual spell of sunshine since my arrival, and the weekend was gorgeously sunny. Monday- not so much. I ran to the stinky little Franprix down the street and gathered my provisions early, before the rain started around 11:00. It rained and rained and rained and it was glorious. I sat by my open window and read my book and cozied up in my blanket, as the temps had dipped to the 50’s. Yeah, I was pretty much in heaven. But first I made soup.
Raise your hand if you are crazy for chickpeas. Me too!! Mashed in hummus or intact in anything- I adore those little packets of protein. Two years ago I was on a Stewed Chickpeas kick. I would make up a batch of them to keep in the fridge for lunches or snacking. Mlle. Cordon-Bleu and I were mad for them. They were a great vehicle for spice, which we both sorely missed. This recipe comes together in no time.
1 28 ounce can of chickpeas
1 4 ounce can of tomatoes, mashed
2 tablespoons Harissa (chili paste)
3 tablespoons ground cumin
1 small lemon, split
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cups water
Combine in a pot and simmer for 30 minutes. Gets better as it ages! Awesome with a couple of runny eggs on top.
As much as I love that recipe, I wanted something a bit more substantial for dinner last night. I found this recipe for Spicy Chickpea Soup on Food Network and added a few elements of the other recipe, and it was delicious.
Moroccan Spiced Chickpea Soup
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
1 large onion, medium diced
6 to 8 cloves garlic, pressed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 heaping teaspoon sweet paprika
1 (14.5-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
3 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
1 quart vegetable broth or reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon sugar
Freshly ground black pepper
1 (5-ounce) package pre-washed baby spinach
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until the onions begin to turn translucent; lower heat if browning starts to occur. Add spices and saute a minute or so. Add tomatoes, chickpeas, broth, and sugar. Season with a couple pinches of salt and 10 grinds fresh pepper. Stir well. Chickpeas should be just covered with liquid. If level is shy, add some water so the chickpeas are just covered.
Bring to a simmer, then lower heat to low and gently simmer for 45 minutes.
Remove soup from heat. Use a potato masher to mash up some of the chickpeas right in the pot. Stir in the spinach and let heat through until wilted, just a couple minutes.
Season again, to taste, with salt and pepper.
Serve soup, drizzled lightly with extra-virgin olive oil, if desired.
I added lemon, cut the cinnamon in half, added the harissa, and bumped up the cumin.
It was perfect with a fresh baguette and salted butter. But really, what isn’t?