Chickpea and Romaine Soup with Golden Vermicelli

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

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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. 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. 2. Add the chickpeas, broth, water, and salt. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
  3. 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.
  4. Variations: We originally made this soup with Swiss chard.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.
  5. 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.
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