Chickpea (Garbanzo Beans) and Aubergine (Eggplant) Soup

Chickpea/Garbanzo Beans and Aubergine/Eggplant Soup

In some parts of the UK temperatures are above average. Just not where I am. It’s well below. Some days it’s as if I’m living as a cartoon character with an ominous looking cloud above my head. Seriously, I’m still wearing a winter coat to go food shopping, it’s so cold here by the coast.

So! An earthy tasting yet light and hearty Chickpea and Aubergine Soup is very much needed right now. And one that is loaded with flavour and nutrients – to keep out the cold. This isn’t one of my quicker soups, mind. The aubergine, undoubtedly one of my favourite vegetables if cooked properly, needs soaking in salted water for an hour, then another hour to cook it (both of which I do the night before). Still, when it’s cooked – eventually – its taste is that of absolute nuggets of gold with the chickpeas partially cooked in olive oil and garlic. And, even though I was merely using up half a swede its flavour was sensational, too. Although, if I have to have a little bit of a gripe it’s only to do with the amount of stock added – less is definitely more with this particular soup. Next time, and chances are this will be made again next week if the weather is anything like today, I’ll use the normal combination of onion, carrot and celery – that some call mirepoix – and, when all ingredients are combined then, and only then, will a little stock be added if necessary. And I reckon this could be a fabulous side dish (with a little yoghurt), drained off most of its stock (which could be used with the pan juices from the roast to make gravy) and served with roasted lamb, especially if the latter was either marinated or cooked in yoghurt.

Chickpea/Garbanzo Beans and Aubergine/Eggplant Soup, with herbs, potatoes, swede/rutabaga stacks and Greek style yoghurt

INGREDIENTS:

  • 100g (3.52 oz) x dried chickpeas/garbanzo beans, soaked overnight
  • 1 x 300g (10.58 oz) aubergine/eggplant, washed, trimmed, cut in half lengthways, each half cut in half crossways, then sliced in fours lengthways, turn and slice into chunks (see instructions for soaking)
  • 1 x small onion, halved, peeled and trimmed
  • 1 x carrot, peeled, trimmed and cut into large chunks
  • 1 x celery stalk/rib, washed, trimmed and cut in half
  • olive oil
  • 1 x onion about 150g (5.29 oz), halved, trimmed, each half sliced down their middle but not through the root end, turned and sliced crossways into thin strips
  • 2 x dried bay leaves, split
  • 1 x green finger chilli (Scoville heat rating: 50,000), washed and cut in half
  • 1 x teaspoon dried oregano
  • 4 x garlic cloves, root end cut off and discarded, peeled and crushed
  • 500ml (1.05 US pt lqd) x cold water
  • 400g (14.11 oz) x white potatoes, peeled and cut into thick discs
  • 2 x parsley stems
  • 1/4 – 1/2 or more x organic vegetable stock cube (taste soup when all ingredients are combined, without any added stock, for how much is needed)
  • 1/2 x small swede/rutabaga of about 200g (7.05 oz), sliced into discs of about 7mm (0.276 in), trimmed of skin, cut in 4 as in a cross, then slice those into squares, retaining and cooking the offcuts as well
  • seasoning, both freshly ground sea salt and black pepper
  • fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped or snipped with scissors, for serving
  • Greek style or plain yoghurt, for serving

Measurements within brackets above are approximate only.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • After soaking the chickpeas (garbanzo beans) overnight drain and rinse well. Add them to a large saucepan and cover with plenty of cold water. Put on electric heat No 4 (out of 6) with a lid. Bring to a boil, drain and cover again with cold water. Repeat this process once more. Third time add plenty of cold water, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to No 2 and simmer until cooked. This reduces the cooking time, surprisingly. When cooked drain, rinse in cold water and set aside.
  • After preparing the aubergine (eggplant) add the chunks to a large bowl and cover with cold water. Add 2 tablespoons of salt, stir and weight the chunks down with a heavy lid, like that of a le Creseut or a plate with a weight on top. Soak for an hour. The reason for soaking the aubergine for so long means that they use up very little oil during pan-frying, unlike other methods. Of course, the aubergine could be roasted or grilled. Put a large heavy-based saucepan on heat No 3 and when pan is hot add a little oil. Drain the aubergine chunks and squeeze the excess water out of them with your hands. Add them to the pan and allow to settle, stirring through occasionally to prevent them from sticking to base of pan. Reduce heat to No 2 if any signs of scorching occurs. At heat No 2 it’s possible to put on a lid so they will sweat. Sometimes they will cook a little quicker that way. Mine usually take up to 45 minutes to get them soft enough so there is no longer any bite to the chunks at all. When cooked to that stage take off heat and set aside.
  • To start cooking the soup add the small onion, carrot and celery to a large saucepan with the 500ml water. Bring to a boil on heat No 4 with a lid on pan, reduce heat to No 2 and simmer for up to 30 minutes. As the other ingredients are ready then can be added as well.
  • For the swede (rutabaga) stacks: Put a heavy-based pan/skillet on heat No 3. When pan is hot add a little oil and the squares of swede. Plonk on a lid and cook for around 10 minutes. Take off lid, turn the pieces over and continue to pan-fry without the lid until nicely golden on both sides. They should be easy to pierce with a fork when fully cooked. Set aside and keep warm. Just before serving grab the sediment from this pan as well with a little stock and add that to the soup.
  • In the meantime add the chopped onion to a pan with a little oil on heat No 3 along with the dried bay leaves and the 2 halves of the finger chilli. Add a lid and allow those to sweat for a good 10 minutes, stirring through occasionally. Take off the lid, reduce heat to No 2 and stir often to prevent scorching. Pan-fry the onions for around 30 minutes to get them as evenly golden as possible. They don’t need to be caramelised. Add the aubergine to reheat, sprinkle over the dried oregano and take off heat and set aside. After adding to the soup at a later stage do add some of the stock to this pan and grab all of the sediment and flavour and add to the soup.
  • Put the chickpeas in a large saucepan with a little oil on heat No 3. I like to get them evenly golden in colour before crushing the garlic and taking the pan off heat. Stir through to make sure the garlic doesn’t clump and can get a chance of cooking slightly. Set aside. As above add a little stock and grab the sediment for the soup from this pan as well.
  • When the soup is needed add the potatoes and the parsley stems to the stock and bring to a boil on heat No 4 with a lid. Reduce heat to No 2 and simmer until nearly cooked. Add the onion and aubergine mixture and the chickpeas and stir through. Allow time for all of the flavours to infuse before tasting for any needed stock. If that’s the case simply add about a ¼ of a cube to a little boiling water (or some of the stock itself) and allow to dissolve completely before adding to the soup. Stir and again give it time to infuse before tasting for any needed extra stock.
  • When the potatoes are cooked and the other ingredients are reheated then I remove and discard the pieces of small onion, carrot and celery before serving. Serve with lots of freshly chopped flat leaf parsley and large dollops of the yoghurt. Season to personal taste at the table.

All photographs within (Todas las fotografías dentro de) Feed the Piglet:
All rights reserved (© Todos los derechos reservados) – Copyright © Johnny H Hepburn


35 comments

  1. This looks great, almost meaty with the chickpeas and aubergines (2 of my favourites in combination) and a fine stock. The neep stacks are a revelation, great idea, must try them.Thanks. PS hope it warms up soon, it’s a poor show when it is even warm here!

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    • You’re right about the meatiness of this, regardless of the fact it’s meat free. And I certainly didn’t need any meat with the aubergine and chickpea combo. Oddly this is only the second time to cook a soup with chickpeas and the first to add aubergine. Will have to do some research as, like you, they’re two of my favourites. Together and I was quite simply in bliss!
      – It was all of 12C earlier. And in those North easterlies we get here it felt decidedly chillier by the beach. In London it was around 20! Why did I move here?? Still, love to be this close to the sea. I’m sure you can understand that, especially with your stunning views.

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  2. What a beautiful combination of flavours and textures! With the start of winter here, this looks like it would really warm the soul! Hoping that the sun comes out to shine on you soon. Margot

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    • Yes, it certainly warmed mine! And the heat from the single chilli helped. Surprisingly I don’t think I’ve ever used aubergine in soup before. Always in stews.
      The sun shines here. But by the beach it’s cold. Nice in any shelter, if you can find it 🙂

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    • Thank you! It is hearty. And surprisingly earthy in flavour (with aubergine and swede together I’m surprised??). Anyway, pleased to say it’s also light in taste as I purposely kept the stock simple and thin – huh, bit like myself 🙂

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  3. LOVE this soup & also love eggplant. Beautiful combination of ingredients. Also loved the black and white spotted napkin. Cute! Hope it warms up for you soon – but enjoy your soup in the meantime! 😉

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    • Oops, the light was dull today. The napkin is chocolate brown! Either way I do love the one and only napkin I have as a prop.
      – As I have leftovers I’m not especially bothered how the weather will be tomorrow 🙂 I’ll be too busy stuffing my face as per usual! Then wrapping myself up warm and heading off. I do hope it doesn’t rain – or sleet or snow for that matter!

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    • Thank you! I’ve never thought of combining the two of them in a soup. How dim is that?
      – Gotta ask, do you have a FB Page? Or is it possible to follow your existing account. I never seem to know about these social networking sites and their etiquette!! I’m not being rude by not following yours, it’s just I don’t know how to!

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        • Are you aware that you can create a Page for free within FB, like I’ve done? That way I can keep my actual account (as in real name) and feed the piglet separate. It just means that I use my Page as a continuation of my blog, as in food stuff I like. It probably will include design and stuff at some stage. It’s also very easy to click Like and follow that page. And if you haven’t joined Pinterest then I would definitely recommend you do ASAP. I get views to my blog almost every day via Pinterest. Even though I don’t really know how to use that either 🙂

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          • Sounds great:) I have joined Pinterest but I cannot figure out how to work it quite.. how do you place PIN IT on my photos:) can you explain that to me? I am going to check into the FB account stuff. thank you for the information 🙂 Great to know this stuff:)

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            • Hah, haven’t got a clue. It may be through your ‘theme’ that you’re using on WP. If you know Anne of http://unihomemaker.com/ then perhaps ask her, or someone who has that feature within their posts. There’s nothing within my theme to indicate that I’m able to do that.
              – To created a Page within FB is fairly easy, although I messed up the first time 🙂 Just click the link to create a Page and follow instructions.

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                    • If it helps use the code for the ‘pin it’ button and embed that text within your post, working in text rather than visual, directly under photos, with extra text to open in new tab, target=”_blank”. I think I’ve done it within this post. Will have to check using IE as Pinterest doesn’t work for me in either Google Chrome or Firefox! The joys of trying to keep up 🙂
                      – Glad you asked as I’ve been wondering how to do that for ages now!

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                    • It’s not as simple as that! You need the URL address of both the actual post and photo. If you need that text I’ll email you with what I’ve had to input. In the meantime I’ll ask Anne if there’s a widget that she’s able to use to generate the text auto. I doubt if my theme has it. However, I read and write HTML so it’s relatively easy for me to copy and paste. Yay, it works!

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  4. This is one of those soup recipes I really studied. I really enjoy diverse textures and stand alone flavors in a soup such as the rutabaga’s and greek yogurt in this recipe. Also, really appreciate the conversions you provide for us over here in this part of the world! Thank you.

    Like

    • I’m with you 100% re diverse textures and flavours. For me risotto, for example, has to be served in a small bowl, preferably as a starter, as I get bored with the same textures and flavours throughout. Pretty much the same with certain soups. Thin soups like celery I never get bored with as I can easily sup those with differing breads, cheese and bits & pieces – whatever there is to hand.
      – The conversions are only intended as a guide. I don’t use conversions that look at individual ingredients. Having said that I do hope they help, at least as a guide.

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  5. Sounds really delicious! I’d never have thought to put aubergines in a soup – intriguing. And I love the stacked swedes – great idea, and just the icing on the cake, or soup in this case…

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    • Not only is this the first time to use aubergine within a soup it’s the first to add dollops of yoghurt to a soup as well. Where on earth have I been?? It’s so delicious. And less fattening than sour or any other form of cream. I may not be hitting the beach right now but neither do I want my stomach nearing my knees!
      – The swede stacks were almost an afterthought as I really wanted to use it up. So glad I went with. They’re fun, and go surprisingly well with the other ingredients.

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  6. Haha… aw, I can’t believe that it’s still soup weather where you are! My parents are currently in London and they’ve been messaging me with talk of beautiful warmth and sunshine! Oh well. At least you’ve got appropriate temperatures to eat things that are as deliciously hearty as this dish. It looks wonderful… and definitely very suited to the cold winter weather that we’re getting in Perth, Australia at the moment. I love every single ingredient you’ve included. In fact, many are my favourites! Thanks J (and I hope the weather warms up soon for you!).

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    • Yes, highs of 21C in London later. Sighs. And chances are, shudders as I head past the beach later. Last December was almost as warm!
      – What do you mean, still soup weather? It’s always soup weather where I am. Even in the Med I’m ordering soup as I love the stuff. One of my favourites. Others have their desserts, I have my soup 🙂
      – Shouldn’t really make comment, but I love that you included Australia after Perth – I would never have guessed! Not that my knowledge of geography is that great these days. Couldn’t even remember the capital of Armenia recently. Yerevan, of course!

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      • Hahaaa… ah, sorry. I was sure that you knew I was in Australia but I had someone associate Perth with Scotland the other day (I forgot that our city was initially named after the Scottish Perth!) so I just wrote it as an afterthought! 🙂 And yes, soup is delicious. But as our weather hits 42-43 degrees C in Summer here I can’t stomach it at times (I feel like I’m internally combusting!). Winter = soup and Summer = salad and ice cream for me!! 🙂

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    • A large bowl of this for a late lunch was just great. Especially as there’s no let up on the weather front any day soon. It’s like March weather outside right now!
      – Anyway, might as well ask you here. The Perky Poppy Seed had asked me earlier if I knew of how to embed the ‘Pin it’ button underneath photos. I didn’t then. Do now, I’m pleased to say. I’d mentioned your posts as you always have them under each photo. What I need to ask for TPPS is, do you have a widget through SP that’s generating the code or are you, like me, having to input the code manually as there’s no widget available within my theme. Does that make sense? Hope so. My Pin it’s are working fine, and as I can read and write HTML (badly) I don’t have a problem with writing the code each time. I’d like to be able to pass on info to TPPS if possible 🙂

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    • Thank you. This was surprisingly good. If it’s as cold here by the coast next week I’ll be making this again.
      – Absolute pleasure to Follow! I’m always thrilled when anyone bothers to follow my blog 🙂

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