We used to have a lot of soups when I was growing up in Greece. Lentil soup (Fakes) – which I hated as a child – and chickpea soup (Revithosoupa) where often served at lunch with plenty of crusty bread. Both soups are incredibly tasty (I see that now), very filling, healthy and hugely economical.
The secret to this soup is slow cooking and not much else. Though you do have to prepare ahead and soak your chickpeas overnight. You could use canned chickpeas at a pinch – about 3 large cans worth and adjust the cooking time. I think the soup tastes far better with dried ones though – and it will be cheaper too. I always serve this with extra lemon on the side – in Greece pretty much everything savoury is served with lemon on the side.
400g | 2 cups dry chickpeas
1 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
2 large onions, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks of celery (including leaves if any) diced
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp sugar
3 springs fresh thyme
Juice of 1 lemon
2 1/2–3 pints | 7–8 cups hot vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped parsley to serve
- Place the chickpeas in a large bowl and sprinkle with the baking soda. Cover with plenty of water and leave overnight. They will swell to almost double their size.
- The next day, rinse the chickpeas thoroughly and drain.
- Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot and add the onions, garlic and sugar. Cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes.
- Add the rest of the vegetables, bay leaf and thyme, season with salt and pepper and continue to cook for another 15 minutes.
- Add the chickpeas, stock and lemon juice and bring to the boil. If any white froth rises to the surface then skim with a spoon and discard.
- Reduce heat to a rolling simmer and cook for at least an hour or longer until chickpeas are tender. Keep an eye on the pot in case you need to top it up with a bit of water.
- Discard the thyme and bay leaves and check the seasoning.
- Serve sprinkled with parsley, a dash of Tabasco and a generous drizzle of olive oil. And don’t forget some extra lemons on the side.