Chickpea and Romaine Soup with Golden Vermicelli

recipe
In Spain, this soup would be made with fideos, a type of thin pasta. We've used vermicelli instead, but the complex taste of the golden broth, rich with paprika and turmeric, makes the soup's Spanish origins apparent nonetheless.

Yield:

4

Recipe from

Food & Wine

Ingredients

4 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
2 cups drained and rinsed canned chickpeas (one 19-ounce can)
3 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
3 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 pound vermicelli, broken in half
1/2 head romaine lettuce (about 2/3 pounds), shredded (about 5 cups)

Preparation

1. In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over moderately low heat. Add the onion, garlic, turmeric, paprika, and cayenne and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and cook 5 minutes longer.

2. Add the chickpeas, broth, water, and salt. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.

3. Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over moderate heat. Add the vermicelli and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes. Remove the browned pasta with a slotted spoon; add it to the soup along with the romaine. Simmer until the pasta is tender, about 5 minutes.

Variations: We originally made this soup with Swiss chard. When it came time to retest, we were out of chard but had plenty of romaine; we used that and liked the soup even better. Swiss chard still makes a fine substitution, though, as does spinach.

Wine Recommendation: Since the inspiration for this soup comes from Spain, why not the wine as well? A Rioja Crianza will be perfect here. Crianza means aged for less time than the more complex Reserva and Gran Reserva, and so the wine will be fresh and fruity.

Quick From Scratch Soups & Salads,

Food & Wine

January 1998
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