Monday, 26 August 2013

Speedy Gonzalez Garbanzo's!

Zuppa di Ceci con Achiote, Epazote e Coriandolo
Chick-Pea Soup with Achiote, Epazote & Cilantro

Apparently, the weather may well change for the better and become warmer again from Wednesday onwards- but the week got off to a cold and rainy start this Monday morning! And it ended, rather unsurprisingly, in exactly the same way this evening- brrr!!!

To make things "worse", it was after 8pm by the time I got home- another loooong day! So once again, I got home cold, wet, tired and hungry- although not necessarily in that order! I needed something warm, something satisfying, something easy and something FAST! And that certain something ended up being this wonderful Mexican flavored soup! 

Garbanzo's, or chick peas, are wonderful, healthy, delicious and filling all at the same time- as well as being very versatile! And if you use the canned variety, they are super-convenient too! Of course, you can soak dried chick peas overnight, but seriously? - they are not going to be any better than the canned version! So, if you want my advice on this- use the canned ones!

The star of this dish is the aromatic and delicious achiote, which I used as a paste this time around- and the other great mexican flavor here is that of epazote, which goes so well with all beans and pulses... and does such a great job when it comes to digesting them- lol! Being as I had bought a bunch of it on Saturday, to use in my black bean recipe, I decided to experiment a little with it this evening- and the result was SO nice! All I can say is, YUM!

I started off by sautéing a dice of carrot and celery, along with a little crushed garlic, a good pinch of cumin seeds and a small handful of finely chopped bacon. As usual- no extra oil... the bacon has plenty :-) Soon, everything was sizzling away nicely and as soon as the bacon got to the point that it began to crisp-up and brown-off a little, I added 1 tablespoon of achiote paste and a good handful of finely chopped epazote (meaning 6-7 larger leaves worth).

As soon as everything was nicely mixed, I added a can of chick peas, liquid and all, then filled the can with boiling water and added that too. Immediately the chick peas took on the rich, orange flavor of the achiote and once everything was nicely stirred, I seasoned with salt and pepper, turned the heat down to a low simmer and let them bubble away for 4-5 minutes.

5 minutes later, I added 1 finely chopped Spring onion and a handful of finely chopped cilantro, the juice of half a lime and a good splash of tabasco... yum-yum! This soup was really doing the business now! I let it boil away for a couple of minutes and then sit for a couple of minutes longer with the heat turned off... and then served it up with a blob of plain yogurt and a garnish of a little extra cilantro.

Sour cream may have been a little more Mexican... but I am not Mexican... this is not a Mexican dish... and yogurt was all I had at home! But ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls... I have to tell you that this was just a wonderful soup! One you will all love... if you just give it a go that is! So why don't you? ;-) After all... I did!

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