Chickpea Puttanesca Soup

This recipe makes use of the tiniest amount of dulse and wakame seaweeds to provide some umami flavor for a puttanesca-inspired soup, sans anchovies.  This is a nice choice when the availability of local fresh vegetables is limited since it works with brined olives and preserved capers and then combines them with canned tomatoes (left from the summer’s harvest!) and much garlic to create a sour-spicy back-drop for the hearty chickpeas.

Enjoy it served atop some cooked spaghetti squash or al dente pasta, although it can be a nice starter straight-up as well.

Yield: 10 cups

What you need:

  • 1 cup dry chickpeas
  • 1 piece kombu seaweed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dulse seaweed (or more wakame)
  • 1/2 teaspoon wakame seaweed (or more dulse)
  • 1 whole dried red chili pepper
  • 1 tablespoon parsley
  • 4 cups unsalted vegetable broth or water
  • 4 cups canned crushed tomatoes (unsalted and home-canned preferred)
  • 2/3 cup pitted green olives that have been quartered lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup caperberries (or plain capers), tails removed, quartered lengthwised
  • 1-3/4 teaspoons salt
  • Fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (optional)
  • Cooked spaghetti squash or pasta to serve (optional)

What you do (stove-top version):

  1. Soak the chickpeas overnight in lots of fresh water to cover. Drain and set aside.
  2. Powder the dulse and wakame together in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle and set aside.
  3. In a soup pot or dutch oven, heat the oil over a low flame. Add the slices of garlic and the dried chili pepper and fry them in the oil until the garlic is golden and crisp and the chili darkened, 5-10 minutes.  If needed, turn down the heat to prevent browning: golden is what you want.
  4. Add the powdered seaweed and stir once or twice. Add the chickpeas, along with the kombu, bay, parsley, vegetable broth and crushed tomatoes.
  5. Bring to a boil, skim off any scum that forms on top and then lower the heat, cover, and simmer until the chickpeas are very soft. This will take between 90-180 minutes depending on how old the beans are.
  6. Uncover, remove the bay leaf, kombu and whole chili pepper. Add the salt, lots of freshly ground black pepper, the caperberries, the olives and then mix well.  Let sit for 5-10 minutes.
  7. Taste the soup and if desired, add the red wine vinegar, one tablespoon at a time until a spicy-sour is achieved to taste.
  8. Serve as is or ladle over some cooked spaghetti squash or pasta.

What you do (pressure cooker or electronic pressure cooker version):

  1. Soak the chickpeas overnight in lots of fresh water to cover. Drain and set aside.
  2. Powder the dulse and wakame together in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle and set aside.
  3. In the pressure cooker, heat the oil over a low flame. Add the slices of garlic and the dried chili pepper and fry them in the oil until the garlic is golden and crisp and the chili darkened, 5-10 minutes.  If needed, turn down the heat to prevent browning: golden is what you want.
  4. Add the powdered seaweed and stir once or twice. Add the chickpeas, along with the kombu, bay, parsley, vegetable broth and crushed tomatoes.
  5. Fit the lid and bring to pressure for 40 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the pressure to release naturally. For those with an electronic pressure cooker, 40 minutes on bean/chili cycle with natural pressure release.
  6. Open the lid once the pressure is released; remove the bay leaf, kombu and whole chili pepper. Add the salt, lots of freshly ground black pepper, the caperberries, the olives and then mix well.  Let sit for 5-10 minutes.
  7. Taste the soup and if desired, add the red wine vinegar, one tablespoon at a time until a spicy-sour is achieved to taste.
  8. Serve as is or ladle over some cooked spaghetti squash or pasta.

 

 

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