*Of all the labors that happen in a kitchen, making a soup or a stew is the most loving, I think. You begin by gathering all of your ingredients from the refrigerator and the pantry. You pull out a large pot and you set it on the stovetop, and you light the stove to heat the pot. Normally, you begin by sauteeing - onions and garlic, most typically, because soups begin with a fragrance. Or else soups begin with water, which you bring to a boil. Either way, the process of soup-making is a crescendo, a labor that cannot be rushed. You stand over the stove stirring, letting the flavors richen and thicken - which is only made possible through patience and time. And somehow, even as the ingredients are breaking down, they are becoming more like one cohesive whole rather than being separate components. Making soup is as fluid a process as the end product. The timing is never rigid; you rely on what you see and smell. Whimsy and spice - even the most unexpected - are necessary ingredients. You taste as you go along, dipping your stirring spoon into the pot and then licking it clean, burning your tongue every now and then. Finally, your gut tells you the soup is almost ready - you just know - and you season with salt and pepper, and you break some bread and serve it with your soup. You've spent hours stirring and adding and tasting, and though the soup is nothing flashy or extravagant, your soup is love. Your soup is the time you spend, your soup holds your daydreams and your thoughts - the ones that floated through your head as you were stirring -, your soup holds your tastes and your favorite spices, your soup retains your desire to comfort and to please - and whoever drinks your soup will understand, when they grow warm as they drink, that your soup is love - pure, unadulterated love.
*Lemony Chickpea Soup
Inspired by The Angelica Home Kitchen
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 bay leaf
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup water
2 cups cooked (or canned) chickpeas
1/4 cup roasted garlic
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 tsp paprika (+ more to garnish)
salt and pepper to taste
chopped parsley to garnish
1. Heat olive oil in a medium-sized pot. Add diced onion and sautee on medium-low heat for 20 minutes, until yellow and soft.
2. Add bay leaf and celery. Sautee for 10 minutes.
3. Add stock, water, canned chickpeas, and roasted garlic. Bring to a boil; turn down heat and let simmer for 20 minutes.
4. Using handheld blender, puree mixture. Mix in lemon juice, paprika, salt and pepper.
5. Serve with parsley and paprika to garnish.