Earlier this year, my friend Saida inspired me with a soup she made for us during our move. I immediately ordered a copy of the cookbook she had used and I started with this recipe, because of its simplicity. ...The conclusion? Leeks are not in this house often enough. I know they require an extra step (yes, there's dirt between the leaves). But the problem is solved in a few changes of water and it's worth it! I loved this soup (even more the day after). I'd make this again in a second. **5/24/09 Update: Since the first try, I've made this soup again on 3 separate occasions. Even guests love it.
Simplest Leek and Chickpea Soup (from Marcella Cucina by Marcella Hazan)
2.5 lbs of Leeks (I used 3-4)
3 Tbsp. Extra Virg. Olive Oil
16oz. can of Chickpeas
Beef Bouillon cube (I used vegetable broth)
1/2 c. Parmigiana-Reggiano cheese
Cut leeks into thin disks and soak in several changes of cold water. Drain and dry. Sautee leeks with the olive oil and salt on medium low, covered. Cook at a slow pace, turning them over now and then, until the leeks break down.
In the meantime, remove the skins on the chickpeas (I rinse them) by squeezing them between your fingers. Add them to the leeks when the leeks become creamy and add enough water (I used vegetable broth) to cover by 1-2" and add a bouillon cube. Turn contents with a wooden spoon. Replace lid & cook for 15 min.
Puree a couple of ladles of the soup in a food processor. Add pepper, Parmesan, and cook for 5 min. longer. Taste for seasoning and preferred density.