1/2 pound (about 1 1/3 cups) chickpeas, rinsed and soaked for 4 to 6 hours or overnight in 1 quart water

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 to 2 onions, chopped

2 to 4 garlic cloves (to taste), minced

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

2 to 3 teaspoons sweet paprika, to taste

1 pound tomatoes, grated or peeled, seeded and chopped

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 bunch chard, stemmed, washed and coarsely chopped

Optional enrichment: 2 egg yolks 3 to 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 1 to 1 1/2 cups cooked rice

Drain the chickpeas and combine with 6 cups water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer 1 hour. Set a strainer over a bowl and drain the chickpeas. Measure the broth and add enough water to make 6 cups.

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven, and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, parsley and paprika, and stir for about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring often, until the tomatoes cook down slightly and smell fragrant, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the chickpeas, broth, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer, cover and simmer 30 to 60 minutes, until the chickpeas are thoroughly tender. Add the greens and bring back to a simmer. Cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, until the greens are very tender. Taste and adjust seasonings.

When ready to serve, if using the egg and lemon, beat together the egg yolks and lemon juice in a bowl. Making sure that the broth is not boiling, whisk in a ladleful of broth from the soup. Turn off the heat under the soup and add the mixture back into the soup while stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon. The eggs should not curdle but should cloud the soup.

Spoon a few tablespoons of rice into each soup bowl and ladle in the soup. Serve hot.

Advance preparation: You can make this through the second paragraph up to a day ahead. Reheat to a simmer and proceed with the recipe.


Recipe Review by Liz, a CSA Member

Hi, Lorraine -

The Valencian chickpea and chard soup caught my eye this weekend, so I made it for Sunday dinner. It was a little bit of work - the more so, probably, because I also decided to make some lemon the kitchen was a busy place today. But never mind; that soup was AWESOME. I followed the recipe exactly (I always keep dried chickpeas in the pantry), using the Roma tomatoes from the box (plus a few from Safeway to make up a full pound of tomatoes), thyme from the garden, parsley from the last time it was in the box, and of course garlic from the braid. I used cooked rice; the only step I skipped was the egg yolk - I was about out of steam by then! And I also added a couple of augmentations of my own. One was some grated Parmesan. The other was some croutons that I made yesterday and had left over from a Panzanella (a “natural” with Eatwell basil, tomatoes, and lunchbox peppers from earlier boxes). Tonight’s chickpea soup made ‘way more than enough for the two of us, but when I suggested I freeze some of it, John said, “NO!” Too good to freeze and eat later. We’ll easily finish it this week. An amazing use of the generous head of chard in last week’s box.

I can certainly remember a time when I didn’t make hearty soups from scratch. Heck, I wasn’t even a FAN of hearty soups! Not that crazy about greens, either. Now your soups are among my favorite recipes.

Thanks, as always.
— Liz Wickham