Hue and Cry: Leek and Chick Pea Soup

Try this delicious, flavorful soup as a first course or the main meal.

| February/March 1995

Serves 4 to 6

This soup is light yet full of flavor. It makes an excellent first course before any simple winter meal. For a main-course version, toast some country bread, sprinkle grated parmesan cheese on it, place a toast in each bowl before pouring soup over it, and serve with seasonal vegetable salads.

  • 1/2 pound chick peas
  • 1 bunch tender leeks, about 11/2 pounds
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 large cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 sprigs Italian parsley
  • 3 marjoram sprigs
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Soak the chick peas in cold water overnight, or bring to a boil, boil 2 minutes, and let stand, covered, 1 hour. Drain, rinse, and cover with fresh water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until very tender, about an hour. Puree half the chick peas (or more for a smoother-textured soup). Return them to the pot and salt well.

2. Meanwhile, clean and trim the leeks, including some tender green, and slice them 1/8 inch thick. Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Gently cook the vegetables, covered, in 3 tablespoons of oil over low heat until they have softened.

3. Add the vegetables to the chick peas along with 3 cups of water. Salt and pepper lightly and simmer the soup about 30 minutes. Chop the parsley and marjoram leaves and add them to the soup. Simmer 5 minutes longer and adjust the seasoning.

4. Serve the soup very hot with the remaining olive oil drizzled on top or served separately in a small pitcher.

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