Saturday, April 29, 2006


I use tinned chickpeas to make this soup, and if you look for a decent brand (one without too much added salt), the liquid surrounding the peas is a good stock. Many supermarkets now carry organic tinned pulses that are an excellent option.

Serves 4 to 6

3 or 4 dried Spanish peppers
4 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped
1 carrot, roughly diced
2 medium-sized, waxy potatoes, peeled and
 roughly diced

Handful (approx 100g) of winter greens —kale or brussels tops — roughly chopped
1 tsp tomato puree 
1 x 400g tin chickpeas (or 200g chickpeas, cooked until tender and kept
 in their liquid)
Pinch of saffron (optional)

Dried chilli to taste

Open the dried peppers by pulling off their stalks. Shake out all the seeds and discard them. Cover the peppers with hot but not boiling water and leave them for at least 15 minutes before chopping.
Heat the oil in a large pan (one with a lid). Add the onions, garlic. celery and carrot, and a pinch or two of salt. Cover the pan and allow the mixture to sweat over a low heat for 10-15 minutes. Stir in the potatoes, greens. chickpeas (with all their liquid), peppers, tomato purée and saffron if using. Just cover the ingredients with water and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until the potatoes can be broken with a spoon. Season to taste. Serve with good. crispy bread, strong extra-virgin olive oil and dried chillies to crumble on top.