1 stalk celery
5 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon saffron powder or turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 3/4 cups dried chickpeas (garbanso beans), soaked in water overnight and drained or 4 (16 ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
6 cups Vegetable or Chicken Stock (see page 223 or 225)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or 1 tablespoon dried
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup chopped roasted red bell peppers
Tunisian Chickpea Soup
Serves 6 To 8
Cut the onion, carrot and celery into chunks. Transfer to a food processor, add the garlic, and process until finely chopped, but not smooth. Set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a small stockpot or Dutch oven set on high heat until sizzling, about 2 minutes. Add the finely chopped vegetables, red pepper flakes, cumin, saffron or turmeric, salt and pepper and cook for 3 minutes, until the onion is soft. Stir in the chickpeas and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 1 hour. (If using canned beans, simmer covered, for 30 minutes.
Process half the soup in a food processor or blender until smooth. Return to the pot and add the mint, basil and lemon juice.
Serve the soup sprinkled with the feta cheese and roasted red peppers.
Wine Suggestion - Riesling