This is an easy, but long slow recipe. Perfect for a wet day at home with the fire going. Chickpeas and silver beet, livened up with lemons and olives – the nice part about it is that it is the kind of filling, low fat, very yummy soup you can snack on all day and feel good in all sorts of ways.
First, cook your Chickpeas
Soak two cups of chickpeas in water for a few hours or overnight. Drain off the water, add clean water and a good pinch of salt, and simmer for about an hour or pressure cook for about half an hour until they are quite soft. The time will vary depending on your chickpeas.
At the same time, make your stock
Every vegetable stock is different, depending on the vegies you have to hand. For this one, I used the green tops of a large leek, several stems and leaves of celery, a diced carrot, silver beet stems, a broccoli stem, some amaranth, some nasturtium leaves (for their peppery-ness), a big handful of rocket leaves, a couple of chillies, a couple of bay leaves, a good pinch of salt and a grinding of black pepper.
Mostly it is the parts of vegetables that would normally be discarded. Add 6 cups of water, cover with a lid, and simmer for an hour or so. Then strain out the vegetables and discard them. Taste the stock and add salt (or soy sauce) to taste.
Saute 5 or 6 garlic cloves and a diced onion in olive oil.
Add 6 cups of vegetable stock, and 4 cups of cooked mashed chick peas. You have a few choices with the mashing. The aim is to break them up but not to blend them smooth. You can add a little of the stock to the peas and use a potato masher or fork. Or you can add half the stock to the peas and use an egg beater. Or you can add all of the stock and (careful not to overdo it) use a stick blender.
Add 20 black olives, pitted and roughly chopped.
Bring up to the boil then add about 10 large silver beet leaves, stripped from the stem and chopped into spoon sized pieces.
Simmer for just a few minutes until silver beet is wilted. Then add ¼ cup lemon juice. Taste and add salt or soy sauce to taste.