After all the feasting and merriment comes the overwhelming urge to eat lightly and healthfully. I picked up a bag of kale and thought to make some sort of virtuous salad from it. But outside, it was blowing a gale and a salad just didn't cut it -- I wanted something warm and filling, just not rich. A quick inspection of my cupboards revealed a tin of chickpeas and a soup was born. It was warm, filling, with a slight bite and a sharp edge. I don’t like using too many ingredients in a puréed vegetable soup as it sort of muddies the flavor. I suppose you could swirl in a spoonful of crème fraîche or a little heavy cream but I don’t think it needs it -- the blitzed chickpeas make it quite creamy. This Kale and Chickpea Soup with Lemon is perfect to take to work in a spill-proof container to heat up in the microwave for lunch. Delicious, virtuous, and thrifty!
You could substitute other beans like butter beans or cannellini beans too. You could also use thyme leaves instead of the rosemary and omit the chili flakes and use freshly ground pepper instead. This is one of those recipes that you can use as a base -- use half the stock to make it more of a thick purée than a soup and serve with a nice thick slice of oven roasted (responsibly sourced) cod or halibut atop, for instance. —Selma | Selma's Table
Test Kitchen Notes
This soup is the perfect middle ground between a thick stew and a basic vegetable soup. The lemon and red pepper give it a bit of a kick, while the rosemary is a perfectly subtle addition. I used leftover kale that I had frozen from fresh, a great way to use up extra kale from a green smoothie. This is best on a cold night when you don’t want something completely heavy; serving it with the crusty bread is definitely a must! —Christiane
banana shallots or 1 onion
clove of garlic
tin chickpeas (400 grams), drained and rinsed
200-gram bag of chopped kale
hot stock (a cube or powder is fine -- I used a combination of Marigold powder and vegetable stock)
Set a dutch oven or large saucepan over medium heat, pour in the olive oil. Finely dice the shallots and add to the pan, stirring to coat with the oil. Make 4 or 5 long horizontal slices in the celery stalk and dice. Add this to the pan and stir.
Finely chop the rosemary leaves and stir into the pan together with the bay leaf and the chili flakes. Peel the garlic clove and crush it, using the flat of your knife and the heel of your hand, so that it is still whole, then add it to the pan.
Add the chickpeas and the kale and stir. Pour in the hot stock, let it come to a boil and turn down the heat. Add salt if you're using unsalted stock. Let it simmer for 20 minutes until the kale is tender. Squeeze in the juice of half a lemon. Check the seasoning and adjust to taste. You might want more lemon or salt -- it all depends on what stock you've used.
Working in batches or in the pan itself, if you have a stick blender, blitz until you have the texture you like. I like mine to still have a few chickpeas and pieces of kale throughout, so I set aside a couple of ladlefuls and use a stick blender to blitz the rest.
Serve hot, floating a couple of slices of lemon on top of each serving. Pass round the Parmesan cheese for everyone to help themselves. It's lovely with toasted crusty bread.