This is a wonderfully fragrant and soothing soup, with a punch of harissa to keep things lively. I first made the traditional version from Anissa Helou’s incredible book Feast, and I loved it for its depth of flavor and heartiness (from the bread). Still, I couldn’t help but tweak it to my taste: I pureed some of the chickpeas and returned them to the soup, making it creamier, and added more roasted chickpeas on top for even more texture.
- Combine the chickpeas with 5 cups water, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, the bay leaves, and kombu in a Dutch oven or heavy stockpot over high heat. Bring to a boil, let boil for a few minutes, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the chickpeas are tender, about 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 400 º F.
- While the chickpeas are cooking, cut the bread into thick slices, then tear the slices into bite-size pieces. Place the bread in one layer on a large rimmed baking sheet and toast until crisp and lightly browned on top, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan.
- Pour another 2 tablespoons of the oil into a large skillet over medium-high heat. When it shimmers, stir in the onion and garlic and sauté until tender and starting to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the cumin, the salt, and tomato paste and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Turn off the heat.
- When the chickpeas are tender, remove and discard the bay leaves and kombu. Use a slotted spoon to transfer 2 cups of the chickpeas to a blender and a measuring cup to transfer 1/2 cup of the chickpea cooking liquid to the blender. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of the olive oil and puree to combine. Return the puree to the soup and stir in the onion mixture from the skillet and as much of the pan juices as possible. If it seems too thick, add a little more water until it reaches your preferred consistency. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the harissa and the lemon juice. Taste and add more salt if needed.
- To serve, divide the toasted bread pieces among soup bowls. Top each with a small dollop of harissa (more if you want things spicier), then ladle in the soup. Garnish with parsley, lemon zest, and roasted chickpeas, if desired. Serve hot.
- The soup can be covered and stored, without the bread, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Preheat the oven to 300ºF. Put a large rimmed baking sheet in the oven as it heats.
- Put the chickpeas in a salad spinner and spin to dry. Transfer them to a line of paper towels and put another section of paper towels on top, rubbing gently to further dry. Let air-dry for at least 30 minutes. In a bowl, toss them with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and the spice(s).
- Transfer the chickpeas to the preheated baking sheet and roast for 1 hour, until the chickpeas have slightly darkened and begin to get crisp on the edges. Leave them in the oven but turn off the heat and let the chickpeas cool in the oven (resist the urge to open the door!) as the temperature drops, about 2 hours.
- Remove and let finish cooling at room temperature. When completely cool, drizzle with the remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Taste and add more salt and/or spices if needed.
- Serve immediately or transfer to an airtight container and store at room temperature for up to 1 week.
Reprinted with permission from Cool Beans: The Ultimate Guide to Cooking with the World's Most Versatile Plant-Based Protein, with 125 Recipes by Joe Yonan, copyright © 2020. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Photography credit: Aubrie Pick © 2020