Friday, January 14, 2011

Chickpea, Parsnip and Wild Rice Soup


Here's a soup that looks similar to my white bean and kale ribollita, but with a few exceptions: it's made with canned beans, it's thickened and enriched by nutty wild rice, and it gets a final shot of flavor from lemon juice and ground cumin at the end of cooking.

I wanted to use up the wild rice blend I had leftover from making wild rice, chestnut and cherry stuffing. The stuffing was fantastic, but I also loved the earthy flavor and texture it brought to this soup. Paired with the sweet parsnips, it made a simple, everyday soup memorable.


Chickpea, Parsnip and Wild Rice Soup
A lot of ground cumin (if you're inclined to freshly grind your cumin, now is a good time to do it) and fresh lemon juice just before serving is the key to the bright, yet earthy flavor of this soup. If you don’t have fresh thyme and rosemary, you can add 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of each to the onions along with the other spices at the beginning.

Serves 4 to 6

1 Tbs olive oil
1 large white onion, chopped
1 cup chopped carrots
1/4 tsp salt, plus additional to taste
1 tsp ancho chile powder (or other mild chile powder)
Hot chile powder, such as Indian red chile or cayenne, to taste (about 1/4 to 1/2 tsp)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp ground coriander
3 cloves garlic, chopped
4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
5 cups water
2 fresh thyme sprigs (optional)
1 bay leaf
3/4 cup wild rice blend
5 parsnips, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
1 lb collard or other hearty greens, tough ribs removed, chopped
2 (14 oz) cans chickpeas, rinsed
Juice of 1 large, juicy lemon
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin (freshly ground if possible)
1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
Chopped fresh parsley and chile flakes for serving (optional)

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or large pot on medium high. Add onion and carrot, 1/4 tsp salt, chile powder, cumin seeds, and coriander (if using dried herbs, add them now). Cook until onion is soft and lightly browned. Add garlic and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes. Add broth, water, thyme sprigs and bay leaf; bring to a boil.

Add rice and simmer, covered, 30 minutes. Add parsnips and simmer 5 minutes. Add collards, in 2 batches if necessary, and continue cooking until vegetables are tender and rice is cooked, about 10 minutes (if liquid gets too low, add an additional cup). Add chickpeas and simmer just until heated through. Add lemon juice, ground cumin, thyme and rosemary. Check seasoning. Serve with parsley and chile flakes if desired.

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