Zuppa di Ceci in the Style of Campania or Puglia

Last night I was eager to use more of the organic Italian chickpeas which I had cooked the day before.  I also needed to use some Yukon potatoes and the organic collard greens leftover from the day before.  The result was a Southern Italian-style soup of great flavor, texture, and healthy qualities.

Cut into small or medium dice, as you prefer:

  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 leek
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 1 medium potato
  • 1 zucchine
  • a few handfuls of fresh peas
  • 1-2 cups of cooked chickpeas
  • 1-2 cups of cooked organic collard greens (Swiss Chard and spinach are alternatives, and so are Italian bitter greens, like escarole and chicory)

Sauté the first three items, then add the next three after the first ingredients are tender.  Add the chickpeas and greens.  Season with wild Calabrian fennel seed, dried Italian oregano (not Mexican, please), salt & pepper, and a sprinkle of hot Calabrian red pepper flakes.  If you cooked your own dried chickpeas, then use the broth from the legumes for the soup.  If not, add water or vegetable stock.  Cook for 30 minutes to an hour, until the potatoes are cooked through and the collards are smooth and silky.

Serve with a crusty loaf of bread and a medium-bodied white wine, like Rkatsiteli from Georgia or Falanghina from Campania.  I actually had made an Overnight White Bread (Ken Forkish bread recipe) last weekend, and topped the broiled slices with a Bistro Cooking Provençal anchoïade (anchovy, garlic, parsley and red wine vinegar), which complemented the soup beautifully.

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