I found this recipe from Jose Andres Tapas: A Taste of Spain in America while searching Recipe Gullet for a way to use chickpeas. Though I already have a chickpea soup I quite like, I was lured here because of the paste made from the bread and garlic--and the use of paprika and saffron. I couldn't wait to use that latter spice, as I had just gotten it as a gift and looked forward to busting out the little red threads and seeing what kind of culinary ecstasy they could induce.
I was so excited about this soup that I probably built it up a little too much up in my imagination. It was a fine soup with a beautiful, deep red broth. But since I wasn't completely leveled by it, I came away a little disappointed. To be fair, the original recipe starts with dried chickpeas that are cooked from scratch, a step that would have certainly added more flavor but also one that would have taken a lot longer. Sadly, I took the short cut and ended up with a soup that I wished had just a little more flavor.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 slices white bread, crusts removed
- 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
- 1 pinch saffron
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 1 twenty-eight-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 pound spinach, roughly chopped
- Salt and pepper
Pour the olive oil into a large pot over medium heat. Add the garlic cloves, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally until browned on both sides. Remove garlic and set aside.
Add the bread to the pan; cook on both sides until browned, about 2 minutes. Remove and set aside.
Turn off the heat, and let the pan cool for a minute. Then add the paprika, saffron, and cumin, and stir for a few seconds. Then pour in the sherry vinegar and stir until combined.
Place the garlic and bread in a mortar and pestle. Smash until it becomes a thick paste.
Dump the chickpeas and spinach into the large pot with the paprika-and-saffron mixture; pour in 4 cups of water. Bring to a simmer; cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the bread-and-garlic paste; cook for 5 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper and serve.