Recession Recipes: Hot, Cheap, Easy Soup

soup chickpea.jpg


On a cold night, you just want something hot, cheap and easy. Like soup. Being low on cash doesn't mean you have to eat packaged ramen every night--this Spicy Chickpea-Chorizo Soup is deeply flavorful, especially good for chile and garlic lovers. Each serving costs about $4, more or less depending on whether or not you use your own stock and have smoked paprika on hand.

Chorizo is extremely cheap at your local Latin bodega. I happened to use the smoked, fully cooked Spanish kind, but it would be just as good, if not better, if you bought a length of the raw, Mexican-style chorizo and sliced it up. Canned chickpeas are very cheap (I didn't plan ahead, so that's what I used) but dried ones are even cheaper, if you have time to soak them.

The recipe, after the jump.
Spicy Chickpea-Chorizo Soup
Yield: About 4 servings
You can substitute any green you like for the spinach, but if you use a heartier green like chard or kale, you'll need to simmer the soup longer so that the leaves are tender.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup sliced chorizo, either Spanish or Mexican-style
1 yellow onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, chopped
salt
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3 tablespoons chile flakes, more or less to taste
2 tablespoons smoked Spanish paprika (pimentón)
6 cups chicken stock, homemade or low-salt purchased chicken broth
1 (1 pound, 13 ounces) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
7 ounces spinach
juice of 1/2 lime

In a large saucepan, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chorizo, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sausage renders some of its fat and begins to brown. Raise the heat to medium-high, and add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until the onion is soft, about 10 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt, and stir in the tomato paste. Cook for 1 or 2 minutes, stirring, until tomato paste is fragrant and slightly darkened. Lower the heat to medium, and add the spices: cinnamon, oregano, chile flakes and paprika. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly so that the spices don't burn.

Pour in the chicken stock and the chickpeas, scraping up any caramelized bits of tomato paste or chorizo that are stuck to the bottom of the pan. Raise the heat to bring to a boil. Taste the soup for seasoning, and add more salt and/or chile flakes if necessary. Add the spinach and lime juice, and cook until spinach is just wilted. Serve hot.   


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