Sunday, January 19, 2014

Chickpea and kidney soup

A new year is well on its way and half of January is already gone. According to the Estonian folk calendar January 14th was the day when winter´s back was broken. This meant that half the winter was over and half of the food supplies planned for the winter were supposed to be still in the pantries. Equally for the farm animals, half the feed should be still available.

Taking inventory of my supplies, I concluded that I was well covered with honey and self made jam until next season and dry ingredients and a few emergency cans of tuna would take me through February. It is the vegetables that I would need to rely on the farmers to still have in their storage and come to the market every Saturday to feed the hungry town crowd and save them from vitamin C deficit.

Even though there almost hasn´t been a proper winter yet, the warming soups have their place on the Lime Or Lemon blog in 2014 too.

Chickpea and kidney soup

Today we have something in the spirit of "If you decide to kill (ie. eat meat), dare to eat the whole animal". Kidneys fall into the Love or Hate category of the ingredients.
A few years ago, before the whole sustainability and bio mentality became more popular, the secondary cuts of meat were difficult to find in the latest cookbooks and restaurant menus. Recently I saw pig´s ears and blood risotto on a menu in a Lisbon restaurant and these days pages after pages of recipes of liver, kidneys, pig´s ears, tongue and other specialty meats are finding a come back in the food magazines.

Ingredients for 4 portions:
4tsp vegetable oil (eg. rape oil)
2 small onions, thinly sliced lengthwise
250g rabbit´s kidneys, rinsed and patted dry
1 carrot, chopped
3 stalks of Swiss chard (mangold), chopped
0.5 dl sherry
0.75l water
1 tomato, peeled and chopped
1 bay leaf
1 can of 400g of chickpeas, rinsed in cold water
salt and black pepper
Dill, finely chopped

Heat the oil in a pan and cook the onions on medium heat until they turn soft and brownish. Remove the onions from the pan.
Fry the kidneys in the same oil for 5 minutes, then remove from the pan and put aside.
Place the carrots and Swiss chard into the pan, cook for 2 minutes, then add the sherry and let it evaporate.
Add the bay leaf.
Pour the water onto the vegetables and let simmer for 10 minutes until soft.
Add 2/3 of the chickpeas and cook for a few more minutes.
Remove the bay leaf.
Purée the vegetables into a smooth soup.
Season with salt and black pepper
Now add the remaining chickpeas and the kidneys to the soup.
Bring to boil.
Mix in the chopped fresh dill.
Taste and season to your taste and serve with the fried onions.