Sunday, February 10, 2013

North African Chickpea and Kale Soup

Well, this has been the perfect weekend to cook and bake to my heart's content.  Thanks to the lovely Nemo Storm, AKA the Blizzard of 2013, AKA the ginormous storm that dumped almost 3 feet on Massachusetts, we had a snow day on Friday.  Then there was a ban on traveling on any road in the state, so I was (happily) homebound.  It was a lovely weekend, snowy and cozy and full of soups and baked goods.

In addition to making my favorite baked potato soup , I also made North African chickpea and kale soup this weekend (a blizzard really is perfect soup weather!).  On a whim, I had asked Nick to buy kale when he was running to the grocery store recently, so I decided that it was the perfect time for a kale-based soup.  After googling "kale soup recipes," I came up with this one.  It was just what I liked: meatless but weird, and you know how I like that!  It has carrots, onions, chickpeas, and kale, of course, but then it is spiced with all sorts of fun and interesting things like saffron, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, allspice, paprika, cumin, chilli powder, and ginger.  I thought this was the most eclectic mix of spices I have ever seen in a soup, so I knew it was the recipe for me!

The soup is really pretty; I loved the colors of the vibrant green kale and the pop of orange from the carrots.  And it's healthy; carrots and kale are both great for you.  But beyond that, it is delicious.  There are so many layers of flavor going on in this soup; you can definitely taste that "North African" flair.  It tastes like you just got off a camel ride in Morocco (I would know).  Of course, I have been thrilled to eat this soup for three days now, and plan on taking more for lunch tomorrow.  Kenzie wasn't a fan since she doesn't like chick peas.  Rachael said it wasn't her favorite but it was good.  These people are tough to please.  I, for one, love this weird, interesting soup!


North African chickpea and kale soup
from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, sliced or diced
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/8-1/4 teaspoon chilli powder or cayenne
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
generous pinch saffron, lightly crushed
2 bay leaves
1 3-inch cinnamon stick
3 cups cooked chickpeas (or 2 cans, drained and rinsed)
8 cups vegetable broth (or water plus bouillon)
1 large bunch kale, thick center ribs removed and chopped (at least 8 cups)
about 2 cups water
salt to taste
1) Spray a large saucepan with olive oil spray and heat it. Add the onion and carrot and cook over medium-high heat until the onion begins to brown (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the spices, including bay leaves and cinnamon stick, and cook, stirring, for another minute. Add the chickpeas and stir to coat them with the spices. Pour in the 8 cups of vegetable stock, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to a simmer for 20 minutes.
2) Add the chopped kale and stir. If necessary add water to cover the kale and cook until it is tender, about 10-25 minutes, depending on how cooked you like your kale. Check frequently to see if it is becoming dry and add water as needed. Add salt to taste and serve.

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