This recipe from Huelva in Andlusia makes a hearty soup with lots of flavor, and no meat–hence the name “fasting” soup. Yet it is a substantial soup, very nicely spiced with paprika, saffron, and black pepper.
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
4 slices French bread
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
2 teaspoons paprika
2 cups cooked chickpeas, with their liquid
1 pound spinach, trimmed of stems, washed well, and ripped into smaller pieces
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups water
3 large garlic cloves, chopped fine
3 tablespoons pine nuts
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
Pinch of saffron threads
1 large hard-boiled egg, shelled and chopped
1. In a soup pot or casserole, heat 4 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat and fry the French bread until golden brown and crispy on both sides, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the bread, rip it into smaller pieces, put in a small bowl, and douse it with the vinegar.
2. In the same pot or casserole, pour the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and cook the onion and tomatoes with the paprika until they form a thick sauce, 10 to 12 minutes.
3. Add the chickpeas, spinach, potatoes, wine, salt, pepper, and water. Turn the heat to high and, once the spinach wilts and the broth begins to boil, reduce the heat to low and cook, until the potatoes are very nearly tender, about 45 minutes.
4. Add the garlic, pine nuts, parsley, fried bread, saffron, and hard-boiled egg. Turn the heat off, let the soup rest for 10 minutes, then serve.
Makes 6 servings
Adapted from Mediterranean Vegetables, by Clifford A. Wright (Harvard Common Press, 2001).
By Annie B. Bond, the best-selling and award-winning author of five healthy/green living books, including Better Basics for the Home (Three Rivers Press, 1999), Home Enlightenment, Clean & Green (1990), and most recently True Food (National Geographic, 2010 and winner of Gourmand Awards Best Health and Nutrition Cookbook in the World). She has authored literally thousands of articles and was named “the foremost expert on green living” by Body & Soul magazine (2009).