Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Chickpeas: Not just for hummus anymore. Discuss.

Vegan Chickpea Bisque with Garlic and Kale, topped with Olive Pesto and Citrus-Tarragon Ricotta

Dearest Vegans, 
The olive pesto is delicious even without parmesan cheese but you'll need to skip the ricotta to keep it kosher.

Chickpea Bisque—1 to 1½ hours
  • 1½ cups dried chickpeas soaked overnight (or use two cans from the supermarket if you forgot the overnight soaking part)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons finely ground dried rosemary (A spice grinder helps here.)
  • ½ an onion, chopped
  • 8-10 whole garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon dried red pepper flakes (or less if you don’t like too much pepper)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon porcini powder (optional)
  • 1 carton vegetable broth
  • ½ package of fresh baby kale (2-3 ounces)
Heat olive oil in a large soup pot. Add chopped onion, whole garlic cloves, ground rosemary, red pepper flakes, and salt. Sweat the onions over medium heat until translucent then add chickpeas, vegetable broth (save ¼ cup for later), and optional porcini powder.  Bring to a boil then reduce to low heat.  Cover and cook until chickpeas are tender—about 1 to 1 ½ hours. 

Remove half of the cooked chickpeas, then fish out all of the whole garlic cloves from the pot and put them together in a blender.  Add a few spoonfuls of hot liquid from the pot along with about ¼ cup of cool/room temperature vegetable broth.  (NOTE: Per Michel, you run the risk of having the blender mixture “explode in your face” if you forget the liquid cool-down step. Not good.) Blend chickpeas and garlic until they reach a paste consistency. This mixture will be used to thicken, giving the dish its “bisque” texture.  Pour blended chickpeas/garlic back into the soup pot, stir in baby kale, and cook over medium heat for another 15 minutes or so.

Ladle into your favorite soup bowl and top with Olive Pesto and Citrus-Tarragon Ricotta. 

Olive Pesto --5 minutes, maybe less.
Unless you have multiple blenders (and we don’t), you’ll need to wash yours after you finish the chickpea dish.  You can find seasoned olives at your supermarket “olive bar”— green, black, whatever you prefer as long as they are pitted. 

  • 1 cup pitted, seasoned olives (Italian, Herbs de Provence, whatever suits your palate)
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup whole raw almonds
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese (omit for vegans)
Put garlic cloves, almonds, and sunflower seeds in blender.  Blend at high speed until almonds are chopped.  Add olives and parmesan. Blend until smooth.

Use as a topping for Chickpea Bisque.  You have lots of options for the rest of your pesto.  Smear it on crostini or a sandwich.  Use it as a salad dressing.  Be intrepid and use it as a party dip instead of hummus (yawn).  Or just lick it right off the spatula like I did. 

Citrus-Tarragon Ricotta Topping
Mix together in a small bowl:
1 cup of ricotta cheese (no fat, low fat, whatever you like)
1 tablespoon of finely grated orange rind or the juice of one tangerine
1 teaspoon of dried tarragon

1 “grind” of pepper 

Like your leftover pesto, your remaining ricotta mixture can be used on crostini, etc.  Any way you want. Enjoy!

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