Chickpeas: You can use canned chickpeas, as I do, or substitute a small can of navy or white beans that you have drained but not rinsed. Of course, you can start from scratch and cook the chickpeas or beans but for me that means thinking ahead and I usually decide on soup at the last minute. ( You can, also, start this early in the day in your slow-cooker and dinner will be ready when you are.)
That becomes easy as I always have homemade chicken broth in the fridge or freezer along with vegetables. When days are busy or become cold and dreary, for dinner, soup is the answer. A pot of soup was an essential part of the early years when our children, all four, were all involved in sports and their dinner times varied with games and practices. A pot of soup on the stove meant dinner was ready for them when they came home, usually starving.
- 1 HEAD ESCAROLE
- 2 TBS OLIVE OIL
- I LARGE ONION–cut in half and sliced thin
- PINCH OF GARLIC POWDER–to taste
- 1 or 2 CARROTS–peeled and sliced thin
- 1 CELERY STALK–quartered and sliced thin
- 1 CAN CHICKPEAS–drained
- 6–8 CUPS CHICKEN BROTH
- SALT and FRESHLY GROUNDBLACK PEPPER
- A PINCH OF RED PEPPER FLAKES–if you like a little heat-optional
- 1 CHEESE RIND–Parmigiano or Romano, Your favorite
- Remove the end of the escarole, cut the head in quarters lengthwise and then again crosswise into smaller bite size slices.
- Rinse, shake dry and set aside. In a sauce pot add the olive oil and when hot, add the carrots and celery moving them around the pot until they start to get some color.
- Add the onion, stir to combine and then sprinkle very lightly with salt, pepper and a dash of garlic powder.
- Let cook for just a few minutes. Add the chicken broth (of course, you can use vegetable broth, too, if you prefer) and slowly bring almost to a boil.
- Reduce to simmer and add the cheese rind which will give it a full rich flavor.
- Allow to simmer for about 30 minutes and then add the escarole and the drained chickpeas.
- Cover and cook until the escarole has wilted.
- Taste for salt and pepper and adjust. Add the red pepper flakes, if using, and stir to combine.
- Pour into warmed soup bowls and serve, passing around some extra freshly grated cheese.
- We are bread lovers so I will slice some crusty Italian bread, dot the slices with a little extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with a little grated cheese and heat in the oven until the bread is toasty and the cheese is slightly melted.
- This makes a good hearty and fairly quick, delicious and nourishing meal. When I have extra time, instead of toasted bread I surprise the family with popovers. They are always a big hit.