Delia

Chickpea, Chilli and Coriander Soup

This has decidedly Mexican overtones. It isn't too hot and spicy but the presence of the chilli does give it a nice kick, and the flavour and texture of chickpeas is perfect for soup.


Serves 6

This recipe is taken from Delia’s Vegetarian Collection, Delia Smith's Winter Collection and The Delia Collection: Soup

Chickpea, Chilli and Coriander Soup
Ingredients
 8 oz (225 g) chickpeas, soaked overnight in twice their volume of cold water
 2 small red chillies, halved, de-seeded and chopped
 1 level tablespoon coriander seeds
 1 x 15 g pack (or ½ oz) fresh coriander, leaves and stalks separated
 1 level tablespoon cumin seeds
 2 oz (50 g) butter
 6 fat cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
 1 level teaspoon ground turmeric
 grated zest 1 lemon
 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
 1 x 200 ml tub crème fraîche
 salt and freshly milled black pepper
For the garnish:
 1 mild fat red or green chilli, de-seeded and cut into very fine hair-like shreds
Equipment
You will also need a large saucepan of 6 pint (3.5 litre) capacity.

Method

First of all, drain the chickpeas in a colander, rinse them under the cold tap then place them in the saucepan with 2¾ pints (1.75 litres) of boiling unsalted water. Then bring them up to simmering point, put a lid on and cook them very gently for about 1 hour or until the chickpeas are absolutely tender and squashy.


While they're cooking, prepare the rest of the soup ingredients. The coriander and cumin seeds should be dry roasted in a small pre-heated pan for 2-3 minutes, then crushed in a pestle and mortar. After that, melt the butter in the pan, add the crushed spices along with the chopped garlic and chillies and cook over a low heat for about 5 minutes. Now add the turmeric, stir and heat that gently before removing the pan from the heat.

As soon as the chickpeas are tender, drain them in a colander placed over a bowl to reserve the cooking water. Transfer the chickpeas to a liquidiser together with a couple of ladles of cooking water and purée them until fine and smooth. Now add the lemon zest, coriander stalks and spices from the pan along with another ladleful of cooking water and blend once more until fine and smooth.

Next, the whole lot needs to go back into the saucepan with the rest of the reserved cooking water. Bring it all up to a gentle simmer, give it a good stir, season, then simmer gently for a further 30 minutes. All this can be done in advance, then, when you're ready to serve the soup, re-heat very gently without letting it come to the boil. Stir in half the crème fraîche and the lemon juice, taste to check the seasoning, then serve in hot soup bowls with the rest of the crème fraîche swirled in. 

Scatter with shredded chilli and coriander leaves as a garnish.

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