Tuesday, April 28, 2020


Best Blog Tips

Yesterday I needed to make a quick soup for lunch, but couldn't decide on any of my own recipes. Flipping through various cookbooks for ideas, I ran across a recipe in Deborah Madison's tome, "Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone", for a Tunisian chickpea soup called "Leblebi".  It sounded simple, tasty and nourishing, with ingredients that I had in the house.

Of course, I couldn't resist checking out a few other cookbooks, and found that there are various versions of this dish across the Middle East, some of which are more like a stew. So I wrote down the basic ingredients and the spices and herbs that appealed to me.
BTW-- if you don't have any of the Harissa I call for (it's a very hot North African red pepper paste-- see picture below for the brand I see most often where I live and which I use) there are many homemade recipes and commercial brands available online. And here is a link to an article about possible substitutes.

So, without further ado, here is my version of the Turkish version (called Zetinyagli Nohut Yemegi) of this deliciously simple spicy chickpea and tomato stew or soup. I can't think of a more satisfying meal (and my husband loved it, too)!

Serves 4 to 6, depending on appetites

STEP #1:
2 cups dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans)-- I don't soak them.
6 cups light vegetarian broth
1 small onion, peeled and left whole
1/2 tsp. salt

Place all of the ingredients in the insert of your Instant Pot, lock the lid and push the steam release handle toward the back, into "sealing" position. Set on "Manual" for 30 minutes. When the float valve sinks down all the way, open the pot, carefully remove the onion and discard it. 
(If you use a stovetop pressure cooker, follow the directions for your pot and cook for 30 minutes. Then let the pressure come down. If you cook them in a pot on the stove, bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer, remove any foam, and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours. )

1 T. olive oil
4 fair-sized cloves of garlic, minced 
1 medium onion, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. ground cumin 
(It's best if you can grind cumin seed in a little electric spice mill just before using)
1/2 cup to 1 cup fresh or canned diced or crushed tomatoes
1-2 T. harissa (see above for info and subs, if necessary)-- according to your tolerance for hot stuff!
In a small skillet over medium-high heat, saute the garlic and onion until they begin to turn  golden. Add the bay leaves and cumin, and then the tomatoes.  Stir-cook for a couple of minutes, then add cooked chickpeas and broth. Simmer for 30 minutes.

Taste for seasoning, adding salt if needed, and more harissa (or sub), if you like. If it's too "stew-like" for you, add another cup or so of vegetarian broth.
Other additions, according to your taste:
lemon or lime juice
chopped parsley
chili flakes
chopped green onions or chives

To serve with this dish:
Pita or other flatbread (toasted or not)
your favorite crusty bread, in chunks