Awhile ago when I was down and out with a cold, Alex (the boy in boymeetsgirlmeetsfood) made this delicious chickpea soup to help me out. The chickpeas give the soup some heft, while the spices keep it lively. We used Trader Joe's fire-roasted tomatoes for some added flavour, but if you can't find them, normal diced tomatoes will be fine too. This remains one of my favourite soups because of its bold flavours, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
Note: Since this soup is vegetarian, it freezes really well- it's perfect to keep in stock for a rainy day! —boymeetsgirlmeetsfood
stalks of celery, diced
large white onions, diced
cloves garlic, more or less depending on personal preference
Add diced celery and onions to a large stock pot, over low to medium heat.
Next, add the garlic cloves- we used a garlic presser for ease, but you can finely mince the garlic instead if you don't have a presser. Add the olive oil, turn the heat up to medium-high, and saute until the veggies are softened; also add plenty of cracked pepper to taste.
Then spice the mixture, using the cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper, paprika and cinnamon. Finely chop the two serrano chilies (scrape out the seeds if you want less heat) and throw these in as well. Once the spices were added, the mixture will start to boil and achieve a beautiful reddish-orange colour. Stir frequently so that the spices don't burn, for a minute or two.
Add the drained chickpeas, tomatoes and stock- our stock was frozen so we had to let it melt over the course of about eight minutes. The soup will be very watery at this point, but don't worry! It thickens up over the course of cooking. Also add the grated lemon zest at this point, it really brightens up the dish. The soup should remain over medium to high heat, and be allowed to boil.
After about ten minutes, the soup should start to boil, and the water will evaporate. Continue to stir the soup so that the contents don't stick to the bottom of the pot and burn.
Five minutes into boiling, we added the handful of freshly chopped cilantro, along with a bay leaf and the zucchini. Don't add the zucchini any earlier than this, otherwise it will break down. At this point, also lower the heat so that the soup is simply simmering.
Let the soup cook down for another thirty minutes (this is the perfect time to do some dishes and clean up!). Use a flat, hard spatula to flatten some of the chickpeas- they breakdown and thicken up the soup a bit. Continue to stir.
Three minutes before serving, add the 1.5 cup of baby spinach to the soup and stir. Add it any earlier and the spinach will disintegrate.
Right before serving, mix together the yogurt and cayenne to make a spicy yogurt drizzle. Spoon the soup into each bowl, top with the yogurt drizzle, as well as a drizzle of EVOO. Garnish with some chopped spring onions and cilantro, and serve immediately!