Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Chickpea soup with mint and lemon

Recipe bookmarks tend to pile up and get out of control if you're a person like me. I am always adding more to the list and my occasional attempts to cull the older ones that have been hanging around for a while doesn't really seem to work. I guess I am addict when it comes to hoarding recipes!

I bookmarked a chickpea, lemon and mint soup from Green Gourmet Giraffe almost two years ago now. Johanna had made an interesting soup from Stephanie Alexander's cooking bible The Cook's Companion which is a cookbook I was given as a wedding present many years ago. The main reason for bookmarking Johanna's post was to remind me to look this recipe up in my copy as the size of this book and the thousands of recipes within can be rather daunting at times.

With some mint in the fridge that needed using up and a few lemons on my tree that were finally ripe, now was the perfect time to give this a try. I did forget to buy celery that was intended for the soup when I was out shopping and made a few vegetable alerations. Stephanie's method was different to other soups I had made and I didn't really follow her instructions and used my intuition more than anything. As I prefer my soup to be on the thicker side, I decreased the amount of stock which turned out to be a wise decision.      

The only issue I had with the recipe was the amount of lemon that was written in the ingredients, it was listed as the juice of 2 lemons. Lemons come in various shapes and sizes and some are juicer than others. Like Johanna, I only used about one and a half lemons and found this to be on the strong side initially although the addition of the mint and parsley garnishes did a good job of balancing out the flavours. This soup was lovely and creamy and simple to make, it just requires a bit of planning ahead as the chickpeas need to be soaked in advance.

Chickpea soup with mint and lemon (Adapted from The Cook's Companion and Green Gourmet Giraffe)

250g dry chickpeas
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 leeks, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 medium potato, peeled and diced
6 cups vegetable stock
Juice of 1½ lemons (just under half a cup)
½ teaspoon salt
freshly cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

Soak the chickpeas in a bowl filled with water overnight or at least 8 hours. Drain and rinse thoroughly in a colander.

Heat the olive oil on medium heat in a stockpot and add the coriander and cumin seeds. When the seeds begin to sizzle and smell fragrant, add the leeks, carrot and potato. Cook for 10 minutes until the vegetables have softened, stirring occasionally. Add the chickpeas and vegetable stock, bring to the boil and simmer, covered for 1 - 1½ hours until the chickpeas are soft.

Transfer the contents to a blender and process in batches until smooth. Pour the soup back into the pot and reheat on low. Stir through the lemon juice and seasoning to taste. Ladle into bowls and garnish with mint and parsley.


  1. I really like the sound of this flavour combination - and it's the sort of thing my boyfriend would enjoy too! I'll have to keep this soup idea in mind.

    1. Thanks leaf, it was a different combination for me in soup form yet it worked really well.

  2. It is a great soup - I even liked it a bit thinner than my usual soups (I tend towards thicker soups too).

    One think I love about blogging is making notes about the measurements because I try and make them make sense to me - I have been finding the same thing with lemons and limes lately because we have been using them off the tree - but I guess someone like stephanie alexander expects a bit of intuition

    1. It is a soup that I wouldn't have minded being a bit thinner even though I'm normally into the thicker types. It is wonderful being able to record recipes the way they make sense to you and translating the unclear parts from recipes.

  3. oooh what a delicious combination! mint and lemon! sounds fabulous and refreshing! thanks for sharing!

    1. It was a nice combination, the mint at the end was a perfect finishing touch.

  4. What a beautiful soup! I'm just like you, my list of awesome recipes to make adds up waaay quicker than I can go through them. I've never incorporated lemons as a key ingredient in a soup before, now I'm itching to try this one!

    1. At least we will never run out of things to make though! I haven't used lemon as key soup ingredient before this either.

  5. I am with you on the out of control recipe bookmarks. I'm at the point where I try not to look at the bookmarks folder in much detail, because it is so out of control! In saying that, I can see another addition in the for of this soup - chickpeas and lemon and mint would go together wonderfully in soup form.

    1. I'm at the point where I'm trying not to add many more bookmarks as I'm hopeless with removing them if I haven't made the recipe. They aren't growing as fast as they used to but I'm still not getting through the backlog.