This is a hearty vegetarian soup I came up with when we were in the mood for something healthy and invigorating. After I've eaten a few rich or heavy meals, I find myself craving heat and spice. Somehow it wakes up my body and makes a virtuous dish taste perfectly satisfying.
Roasting some poblano peppers is an easy extra step that gives this soup a little something special. It seems to be more of a stew than a soup despite coming together in less than a half hour, not counting a few minutes spent roasting the peppers. I patterned it after a delicious smoky turkey chile I love to make. Try it when you need a pick-me-up meal. I'll also note that, like any meat-based stew, the leftovers take on a very appealing, steeped-in-flavor effect the next day.
Chickpea Soup with Sweet Potatoes & Roasted Poblanos
Roast the poblanos ahead of time directly on the burners of a gas range, under a broiler or on a grill. When skin of peppers is black, place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap until cool enough to handle. Slip off the skin with your fingers, then remove the stem and seeds. See detailed instructions here.
1 1/2 Tbs canola oil
1/2 red onion, chopped
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1 Tbs chopped fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic chopped
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp ground coriander
Red pepper flakes to taste
4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
2 to 3 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into bite-size chunks
3 cups cooked chickpeas (about 2 14-oz. cans, rinsed and drained)
1 (14-oz) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
3 poblano peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded and cut into thin strips
Chopped fresh cilantro and sour cream for serving (optional)
Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch over medium heat. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper and cook until soft. Add the cumin and mustard seeds and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the ginger, garlic, curry powder, coriander and red pepper flakes. Continue cooking for 2 minutes, or until garlic is tender and spices are fragrant.
Add the broth, cover and raise heat to high. As soon as liquid comes to a simmer, add sweet potatoes and return to simmering once again. Reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Add chickpeas, tomatoes and poblanos. Simmer just until heated through. Taste to check the seasoning and add salt and pepper as necessary or beef up the spices (you might want more curry flavor, or some ground cumin to supplement the whole cumin seeds, etc.). Serve with fresh cilantro and sour cream.