Friday, March 18, 2011

Chicken and chickpea soup

I had some bone-in chicken breasts and some chicken stock that needed to get used up. What to do? I didn't much feel like doing a boring chicken noodle soup (I pass no judgment if your particular version is the sexy kind of chicken soup that flashes its boobies at Mardi Gras - my chicken noodle soup wears cotton undies and sensible shoes). So I googled chicken soup with chickpeas. Weird - yes, I will give you that. I don't normally think chickpeas when I think sexy soup. But I have been on a bit of a chickpea bender of late, and I was keen to try out the new way I had found on Chow Hound to soak them (it's a Nigella tip where you add a slurry of baking soda, flour and salt to the soaking water).

What I found was a promising Martha Steward recipe from Everyday Food. Cumin, cinnamon and coriander, garlic, lemon and looked appealing on a cold day.

So I gave it a shot. Verdict? We have a winner. The chickpeas were tender and creamy. The chicken was not too dry (thighs would have been perfectly moist). And the flavours were just Moroccan enough to feel exotic on a cold March day. The finishing touch of minced cilantro tossed with garlic and lemon juice was gor-geous.

Here is my adaptation.

Chicken and chickpea soup
Adapted from Everyday Food.

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs or 2 bone-in, skin on chicken breasts
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced or 2 medium leeks, light green parts only
  • 3 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground coriander seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained or approximately 1/2 to 2/3 cup dry, soaked overnight (see note) and cooked until tender
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Note: Pick through the dry chickpeas and remove any twigs or stones. Put in a pot and add water to cover by several inches. Mix together 1 teaspoon baking soda with 1 tablespoon flour and 1 tablespoon salt. Add a bit of water and stir to make a thin paste. Stir this paste into the soaking chickpeas. Refrigerate at least 12 hours.

  1. In a large, heavy pot, heat oil over medium-high. Season chicken with salt and pepper and cook, skin side down, until skin is browned and crisp, about 6 minutes. Slightly more if you are using large chicken breasts. Flip chicken and cook until browned, 6 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate.
  2. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from pot. Add onion or leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 4 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons garlic and spices; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in carrots and return chicken to pot. Stir in broth.
  3. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a medium simmer, partially cover, and cook until chicken is falling off the bone, 50 minutes.
  4. Remove chicken from soup. When cool enough to handle, tear chicken into large pieces, discarding skin and bones. Return meat to pot. Add chickpeas and season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. In a small bowl, stir together 1 teaspoon garlic, lemon zest, and cilantro; sprinkle over soup before serving.
Serves 6.


  1. I made this and found it very satisfying and definitely not of the boring chicken soup variety. It has lovely flavour!

  2. And I would NEVER have picked it out of the magazine to make until this past year. Now I am getting chickpea happy. :-)

  3. Plus, thanks for being such a diligent little recipe reviewer. :-)

  4. No problem I still have to make the pumpkin soup.