Kale and Chickpea Soup

Kale and Chickpea Soup
Originally uploaded by bookbum.

Pulling a bag of wrinkled and shrunken garbonzos from the bottom of my lentil bin, I wondered if they could be saved. How old are these things? Looks like maybe I've been carrying them around since my college days, piling newer beans and lentils on top, these working their way down, year after year after year. I gave them a try, using a recipe I found at Epicurious.com which morphed into something of my own. Changing recipes to suite myself or what I have on hand was once a sacrilege. Who am I to re-think and present a recipe that's been printed in a book or newspaper? Bloggers taught me that I am somebody to do just that (as long as credit is given). Just what my mother has been trying to tell me all along, when I complain on the phone that I can't make such-and-such because I have no heavy whipping cream or fennel or turkey legs or ....

To see the recipe at epicurious.com, click the link above. My adaptation follows.

Kale and Chickpea Soup:

16 oz. chickpeas
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped (1 c.)
3 garlic cloves, chopped
3 bay leaves (2 if large)
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

1 large baking potato, peeled and cubed into 1/4 to 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 lb. (approximately 4 c.) stemmed kale, processed finely
32 oz. chicken stock
1 - 2 c. water, as needed

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 links hot Italian sausage, casings discarded, diced

2 hot green chillies, seeds removed
1/2 - 1 tsp. groung Ancho Chili Pepper
1 tsp. Garam Marsala

Soak chickpeas overnight, changing water several times. Cook beans on the stove, or, as I did, in a pressure cooker for 10 -12 minutes, until tender. Gather and chop ingredients. Stem kale and chop finely in a food processor. In a 5 - 6 qt. Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Cook 5 - 7 minutes, until onions are soft. Add cubed potato, kale, chicken broth, and water. Cook 20 minutes until potatoes are soft. Reduce heat to a simmer. Meanwhile, "skin" Italian sausages and discard casings. Separate into bite-size pieces and fry in a skillet with a little extra-virgin olive oil until the color changes from opaque to brown. Drain on a paper towel and add to soup. Add hot green chillies, Ground Ancho Chili Pepper (Penzey's) and Garam Marsala. Pause; stir, taste. Add salt, and ground pepper as needed.

∗ Note: The chickpeas, however old they were, came out beautifully after soaking a day and a half and pressure cooking; pre-soaking chickpeas is normally not required for pressure cooking. The ground ancho chili pepper, extra garlic, and hot green chillies added some of the flavors of the chorizo that was missing from my version. Garam Marsala was a tasty addition to the chickpeas, here, as it is to Bengal gram in Indian cooking.