chickpea stew

Disclaimer: This soup tastes better than it looks. I promise. But, I guess it's soup season for reals. It's December - so that makes sense. As I write this posting, it is actually snowing outside and I think that's perfect.

I was on a major soup binge last year - and haven't quite hit my stride yet I guess. I haven't quite found my winning soup of Fall/Winter 2013 yet. I actually made this soup back in November but wasn't super duper excited about it ... so I didn't really get around to writing it up.

Don't get me wrong. This soup is great. My little sister proclaimed how flavorful and awesome it was when I served it to her one Sunday. It just isn't that type of soup that you make time and time again. It's also not really a "coffee house type soup". It's more of a "dinner party soup". All your guest will loves it - except that person that hates cumin. They will not like this. Just throw pour them another glass of wine and toss them a roll. They'll be fine.

I landed on this recipe from Bon Appetit after another one of my magazine cleaning sessions. Like I've said before I get a healthy amount of cooking magazines (Food & Wine, La Cucina Italiana, Bon Appetit, Cooks Illustrated, and Cooks Country) and need to be better about actually using the content in them instead of relying on blogs for inspiration. It's how I ended up making these winning dishes: Cod with potatoes and salsa verde as well as Roasted Potatoes with Haddock Puttanesca.

A few notes about this gem:
More filling than it looks. The combination of chicken and chick peas will make this more filling than you expect. It's most certainly a light broth... but don't let that fool you.
Chick Pea v Garbanzo. I mean, what is the difference? Can we get on board with one name? I was utilizing the cabinet stockpile for this recipe and noticed that Whole Foods sells Garbanzo beans and Goya sells chick peas. According to this blog post, they are in fact the same bean but "Garbanzo" has Spanish roots and the term "Chick Pea" has French roots.
Serve with carbs. I made a batch of my focaccia the day before and it made for a great combo. The original recipe suggested utilizing large croutons but I like to dunk. You can be the captain of the carbs.
Cumin. Yeah, it deserves its own line item because it is really prevalent in the dish. If you aren't a cumin fan, I think you should cut the cumin in half and utilize a chicken or vegetable broth as opposed to water. Do this: 1 T cumin, 3 cups broth, 1 cup water. Maybe.

Here's how it goes.
(Step 1) Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt; add to pot and cook, turning once, until browned, 8–10 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

(Step 2) Reduce heat to low and let oil cool for 1 minute; add garlic and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, 30–60 seconds.

(Step 3)Add cumin, tomato paste, and red pepper flakes; stir until a smooth paste forms, about 1 minute.

(Step 4) Add reserved chicken with any accumulated juices, along with bay leaves and 4 cups water. Scrape up any browned bits. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, occasionally stirring, until chicken is tender, about 20 minutes.

(Step 5) Pull chicken from the pot and let cool for a minute. No sense burning your hands. While the chicken is cooling off, add chickpeas to pot and bring to a simmer.

(Step 6) Shred your chicken and add it back into the pot along with the red peppers and olive juice. Let simmer for a minute or two until all those flavors mingle together. Season with salt and more lemon juice, if desired.

(Step 7) Serve! ... with parsley if you so desire. It's kind of worth it.

Shopping List
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 boneless chicken breasts
Kosher salt
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 bay leaves
2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, rinsed, drained
1/2 cup chopped drained roasted red peppers from a jar
2 tablespoons (or more) fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
bread for dipping

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