Chickpea Soup with Shrimps

Yield: 4 servings

Time: 45 minutes (using canned chickpeas)

Minestra di Ceci con Gamberi, a recipe from Sardinia, puts together what appears to be at first glance an odd combination: chickpeas and shrimps. You will applaud the outcome. I have opted for the canned chickpeas. The dried variety requires overnight soaking and 1-2 hours cooking.

Ingredients:

US MeasuresMetric
  • 1 1/4 cups canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup bacon, cut into thin strips
  • 1 medium-size onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp thyme, finely chopped
  • 3 celery sticks, chopped into 3/8 inch pieces
  • 2 medium-sized carrots, cut into 1-inch long sticks
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 16-20 medium-size shrimps, shelled and deveined
  • toasted bread slices for serving (optional)
  • 530 g canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 70 g bacon, cut into thin strips
  • 1 medium-size onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp thyme, finely chopped
  • 3 celery sticks, chopped into 1 cm pieces
  • 2 medium-sized carrots, cut into 2,5 cm long sticks
  • 1 L chicken stock
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 14 g flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 16-20 medium-size shrimps, shelled and deveined
  • toasted bread slices for serving (optional)

Preparation:

Drain the chickpea canning liquid and run briefly under cold water in a colander. Set aside. Add the bacon to a skillet over medium-high heat and sauté until it becomes crisp. Remove bacon from the skillet and set aside on paper towels to drain. Discard all the fat but save the crunchy bits on the bottom. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan. Sauté the chopped onions until they are glazed about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté 2 minutes longer. 

Add the chopped celery sticks and the carrots. Continue to sauté for another 5-8 minutes or until carrots begin to soften but still retains some “bite”. Mix in the 1/2 teaspoon thyme.

Mix the tomato paste with a bit of chicken stock. Add it to the onion-celery mix. Stir it well. Add the remaining chicken stock. Add the rinsed chickpeas and cook them until they are “al dente”. Taste for salt and pepper.

In the meantime, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and sauté the shrimps until they have lost their raw color. Salt and pepper the shrimps lightly and keep them warm.

Ladle chickpea soup into four soup plates and garnish each of them with the shrimps and bacon bits. Sprinkle the parsley leaves over it and serve with toasted bread.

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