Its soup time! As we roll into colder weather, soup seems to be the answer to many of our culinary challenges! Everyone loves the warm and tummy-filling feelings that soup gives. Once you share this one – we think that you will be making over and over again.
This soup is based on a traditional Roman Soup called Minestra di Ceci alla Romana. Chickpeas are used in cooking all over Italy, and this is a fun and different way to prepare them – it’s an easy recipe that is full of superfoods like spinach and anchovies – and its really easy to make!
Rosemary brings a special flavor to the soup, and we’ve used it twice to layer its delicious taste. A sprig goes in the pot when we cook the chickpeas, and chopped rosemary is an herbal garnish to the finished soup. Rosemary adds nutrition too! It is good source of iron, calcium, and vitamin B6. It can possibly help with digestion and enhancing memory. Rosemary contains an ingredient, carnosic acid, that is able to fight off free radical damage in the brain as well.
Add the chickpeas, whole garlic, rosemary sprig and sea salt to a covered pot. Add at least 2 inches of water above the level of the chickpeas and place in a 350F oven for 1 – 2 hours.
While the chickpeas are cooking, add the evoo to a pot. When warm, dissolve the anchovies in the oil and add the fennel and garlic, Cook and stir until the garlic is fragrant, about a minute. Add in the tomatoes, and stock and simmer for 15 minutes until warm.
When the chickpeas have finished cooking, remove about 2 cups from the pot and set aside. Add the remaining chickpeas to the pot, (draining any excess liquid), and using the immersion blender, puree the soup. Add in the chickpeas that have been set aside, the spinach and stir in the red pepper flakes. Warm over low heat and serve with a garnish of fennel fronds.
*** you can use 4 (15 OZ) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed, instead of cooking the dry beans. Eliminate stew 1 and add 1 Tsp chopped rosemary to the beans.