Chickpea soup is hearty and full of flavour, a dish with the aromas of the past.
Ingredients (serves 4) :
300 g mixed cereals and dried pulses (broad beans, grass peas, chickpeas, different varieties of bean, lentils, peas, spelt, barley, wheat)
1 celery stick
1 bay leaf
1 clove garlic
extra virgin olive oil
Wash pulses and cereals and remove any stones, grit or other seeds. Soak in water for at least 6-8 hours. Rinse in running water and drain well. Place the pulses and cereals in a pan together with the carrot, the celery, half the onion and the bay leaf, cover with water and simmer for about two hours. Remove from the heat and remove the celery, carrot, onion and bay leaf. In another pan heat extra virgin olive oil, a clove of garlic and the chopped onion. Fry gently for a few minutes, add the pulses and cereals and continue cooking for another hour. Stir from time to time with a wooden spoon, adding more water if necessary. Check that the various pulses are cooked, and when ready, remove the pan from the heat. Freshly ground pepper can be added to taste. The soup should stand for a while before serving. Serve with croutons of traditional bread.
Legumes were considered a dish of the poor in the Middle Ages and were mostly eaten by the lower classes. For this reason they became a symbol of monastic food. In contrast with the diet of the rich and powerful, who expressed their superiority by consuming a great deal of meat, monastic life had a more restrained dietary model. The monastic orders preferred vegetables and pulses, symbols of purity in that they were man’s first foods.