Thursday, 12 July 2012

Bacon and Chickpea Soup with Spicy Tortilla Chips

Wow. Just wow. Seriously- wow.  Yes, I know the title of this post was "blah blah soup blah blah" but I promise, soup can be wow! Don't believe me? Having served this for Sunday lunch I was still pottering about in the kitchen (read: taking photos to post on here) before sitting down to eat, and suddenly there was a great deal of shouting from the other room. "Honey! Honey! Seriously, come quick, you have to taste this!"... which brought a smile to my face almost as quickly as I thought "he thinks I didn't taste it before serving?".

I had to agree though, this was one of the best soup recipes I have ever tried (and I've yet to tell you about my Mum's celery soup.... mmmmmm......)- it was packed full of flavour and beautifully creamy without using cream (don't let me fool you though, I really can't pass this off as health food). Oh, and it's ridiculously cheap to make! You'll find the original recipe in another of my favourite books, "400 Best Ever Budget Recipes" which you can buy here and here. Don't let the somewhat generic name put you off, this book has some amazing recipes, and it really is incredibly helpful when you're trying to balance cooking great meals, for a family and on a budget.
I also loved the idea of serving baked tortilla chips with the soup- their crunch and saltiness was a nice balance to the soup, and as the soup itself is really unbelievably filling we appreciated the lighter alternative to bread.

Bacon and Chickpea Soup with Spicy Tortilla Chips

For the soup:
400g tinned chickpeas in water (drained and rinsed)
1 large onion, finely diced
1 large carrot, finely diced
1 celery stick, finely diced
5 slices smoked bacon, chopped (streaky is best, but use whatever you have to hand)
100g butter
2 sprigs rosemary, leaves only
2 bay leaves
2 garlic cloves, diced or minced
1 litre chicken/ vegetable stock
Salt and Pepper, to season

For the tortillas chips:
1 bag salted tortilla chips
25g melted butter
1 tblspn paprika
1 tspn ground cumin

1) Put the chickpeas in a saucepan and cover completely with water. Bring to the boil then reduce to a gentle simmer and leave for twenty minutes.

2) Melt the butter in a large pan over a medium heat, then add the chopped bacon. Fry until slightly golden.

3) Add the onion, carrot, celery, rosemary and garlic and fry for another five minutes, until they have softened.

4) Drain the chickpeas and add to the large pan with the bacon and vegetables, along with the stock and bay leaves. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a really gentle simmer for 45 minutes.

5) While waiting for your soup, preheat your oven to 180C/ 160C fan/ Gas 5/ 350f. Put the tortilla chips on an oven tray. Combine the melted butter, paprika and cumin and brush over the tortilla chips (reserve a about a teaspoon). Bake for 10 minutes.

6) After 45 minutes, remove the bay leaves and turn off the heat. Either use an immersion (stick) blender or transfer to a food processor to blend the soup as smooth as you would like it (we went all the way smooth- creamtastic!)

7) Serve the soup with the reserved spiced butter drizzled on top and with the tortilla chips on the side.

Serves 4-6 (depending on the number of males in your party!) and freezes oh so very well.

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