But seriously, what is better then a warm bowl of soup on a cold winter's night?
Especially as we are in another winter storm:
This picture was taken this afternoon before more snow fell then changed to freezing rain this evening. We are supposed to get more snow overnight! I know I am not alone experiencing this! But I just had to share this picture. Brrrr...
Back to the soup...
I have two soups to share with you - one we had tonight, one we had last week (on another snowy evening). I consider both my favorites for different reasons. The one we had tonight is my favorite Italian soup. The other is just my favorite comfort food of all time.
First the Italian soup: Chickpea Soup
Here's what you need:
• 3 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
• 3 c chicken broth (more if needed)
• 3T olive oil
• 1 carrot, chopped
• 1 onion, chopped
• 1 rib celery, chopped
• 4 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 t dried rosemary (I crush mine before I use it to release more flavor)
• 1 bay leaf
• pinch dried red pepper flakes
• 1 large can whole tomatoes, broken into small pieces
• 1/2c ditalini or other small macaroni
• 1 t salt
• 1/2 lb. swiss chard (tough stems removed) cut these into 1 inch pieces
• 1/4 t fresh ground black pepper
* Purée half of the chickpeas with 1 1/2 c of the broth in a blender or food processor. In a large pot, heat oil over moderately low heat. Add carrot, onion, celery, garlic and rosemary. Cook about five minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften.
* Add the remaining broth, the puréed chickpeas, the rest of the whole chickpeas, a bay leaf, red pepper flakes, tomatoes, macaroni and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, partially covered.
* Add the Swiss chard. Simmer until the chard is tender and the pasta is done (about 10 minutes). Remove the bay leaf, stir in the black pepper.
** If the soup thickens too much on standing, add more broth or water - the pasta tends to suck it up!
My husband likes crackers in his soup. We had the perfect complementary cracker for this soup on hand - Rosemary and olive oil Triscuits! Mmmm...
Grandma B's Chicken Noodle Soup with Mashed Potatoes
I know what you're thinking.... don't knock it 'til you try it!
I thought the same thing when my stepfather introduced this to us many years ago. That was the way his mom always made it. And guess what? It's the way I always serve it to my family now!
Grandma, my stepfather, and my mother, all made their own noodles sometimes. Not me! Too much work! I do highly recommend Kluski brand noodles if you can find them - they are hard-to-find here in Connecticut but, I know back in PA they were on all the store shelves.
Really, this is just your basic chicken noodle soup, so if you don't like potatoes you can eat it as is! No special recipes for mashed potatoes either - just make them like always and serve the two together. Put the potatoes in the bowl, spoon the soup over it. The result is an extra satisfying, extra creamy bowl of comfort!
I do start this soup out by boiling a whole, small chicken. Then I add my carrots, celery, onion, salt, pepper and some parsley. Take the chicken out and pick all the meat from the bones. While you are doing that throw in the noodles and cook them in the soup. Add the chicken back in and you're done.
So if you've never made homemade chicken noodle soup, there it is - easy peasy!
Now, make some mashed potatoes and try it - you'll like it! (Cue Mikey in the old Life cereal commercial)