I'm not sure what possessed me to make a soup in the middle of an Australian summer. Maybe I was missing my pals in the deep freeze on the other side of the world, maybe I was tired of eating food that didn't require cooking, or maybe I just wanted to make something with saffron in it because it's pretty. Who knows. What I do know is that I was sweating like mad while I was cooking it and sweating just as much when I had a steaming bowl in front of me. Somehow, with a crisp Sauvignon Blanc, it was perfect and simple and elegant despite the 100 degree (Fahrenheit) heat.
This soup is a version of a Mark Bittman recipe from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. I love this book. I know his original book is a staple for a lot of people but I much prefer this one and have a long list stuck in it detailing his innovative meatless recipes I can't wait to make.
I went the easy route with my version and used canned chickpeas rather than dried and added a couple small potatoes because they were sitting on the countertop staring at me. I skipped the onion altogether and upped the garlic ante instead. It played off the almonds, potatoes and chickpeas nicely. The almonds are an unusual addition and I was curious to see how they would behave in soup. M & I both loved it and would make it again. The fact that dinner was on the table in half an hour was just a bonus.
For 4 servings:
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 large garlic cloves, chopped
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
- 1 cup diced yellow potatoes
- 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
- 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken stock
- Salt & freshly ground black pepper