Have you ever looked outside your window at the overcast sky and realized that the weather has officially turned chilly? That’s how I felt today when the cold morning light began filtering through my shades.
I always think that this kind of weather inspires a taste for spices and hot liquids. This soup, adapted from Food & Wine, certainly satisfies those cravings.
There is something about Spanish food that feels perfect for this season. Maybe it’s the colors, or the strong flavors of garlic and sherry. Maybe it’s the liberal use of pimentón, whose rich and smoky heat seems to combat the gloom of gray skies.
Pimentón is basically the Spanish version of paprika and comes in three varieties of varying heat: dulce (sweet), agridulce (bittersweet), and picante (hot). For general cooking purposes, I find agridulce to be just perfect, neither too mild nor too bitter.
For this recipe, I used chorizo from my CSA. Given that most of the sausages from my CSA are fairly lean, I didn’t cook the chorizo beforehand. However, if you have particularly fatty links, you might wish to sauté the chorizo pieces and drain them before adding them to the soup.
I also love how the recipe uses puréed chickpeas as a thickener. Sometimes I find that using flour to thicken soups, stews, stocks, and gravies can lead to slightly gluey results, and using tapioca is just weird.
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
2 large carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
2 fat garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 teaspoons of pimentón or smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
4 tablespoons of tomato paste
1 pound of fresh chorizo, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 cans of chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and divided into two equal portions
4 cups of beef broth
Fresh parsley sprigs
How to prepare:
1. Purée the half of the chickpeas in a food processor until they are smooth. They will act as a thickener in the soup and give the broth a wonderful nuttiness.
2. In a large Dutch oven, heat about two tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the onions and cook them until they just start to turn translucent. Toss in the carrots and the garlic. When the garlic becomes fragrant, add the pimentón, cayenne pepper, and tomato paste to the vegetables. Combine everything together, taking care not to burn the spices. Once the vegetables are evenly coated with the tomato paste and the spices, add the chorizo, the puréed chickpeas, the remaining whole chickpeas, and the beef broth. Adjust the seasoning.
3. Simmer the soup until the whole chickpeas are nice and tender. You will want to skim the surface of the soup periodically. Adjust the seasoning for a final time. Serve the soup in warm bowls, topped with fresh sprigs of parsley and lemon wedges on the side.