Friday, November 03, 2006

On sharing

I have a problem—a “sharing” problem.

Just about any Web site that offers the opportunity to email a story or post is likely to convince me that at least four of my friends need to know about this issue. This week I decided Luke and Bill should hear about the Charlie Weis segment on 60 Minutes. So I emailed them a link. When I read about a man getting 10 years in prison for the genital mutilation of his then 2-year-old daughter, my mom was among five people to receive that happy news. Michael is the likely recipient of anything relating to the media or Keith Olberman. My best friend, who is due next month, gets articles pertaining to the trials of motherhood.

There are other things I like to share, though: good books, a great sale, and of course, fantastic recipes. Not all my friends love to spend as much time in the kitchen as I do. So I know my mom’s garbanzo bean soup recipe is perfect for passing on to people who have a 15 minutes limit at the stove, but want a warming, homemade soup in the cold weather.

This recipe can be made with ingredients almost everyone would have on hand, plus a bit of fresh rosemary. Dried rosemary, though, doesn’t downgrade the flavor much at all. The red bell pepper is optional.

Chickpea and tomato soup with garlic rosemary broth
(Chicago Tribune)
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion
1 small red bell pepper, cored, finely diced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
Large pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 branch fresh rosemary
1 can (14 ½ ounces) diced tomatoes
1 can (16 ounces) garbanzo beans
3 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon balsamic or red wine vinegear

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. When hot, add onion, bell pepper, garlic, red pepper flakes and half of the rosemary. Cook, stirring often, until onion is soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add tomatoes with their juice. Cook until most of the juice cooks away, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add garbanzo beans and stock. Heat to a boil; cover and simmer 3 to 4 minutes to blend flavors. Remove rosemary branch.

Mince remaining rosemary and add to the pan along with vinegar, salt and pepper. Serve hot.
Makes 4 servings.

Notes and tips:
· By all means, use dried rosemary if you don’t have fresh.
· Adding a bit of grated parmesan cheese to the individual bowls adds a fabulous extra dimension of flavor.
· I can’t remember ever my mom ever using red bell pepper in this, so I never do. It’s completely optional.


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