What are Ceci beans? They're chickpeas, if you're in Italy. Since I dream about visiting Italy quite a bit, I enjoy using that name. Wait, did I say that I dream? Not for some time. Today was yet another day dealing with the effects of sleep deprivation, a fancy way of saying that I normally get less than six hours of sleep a night. I usually spend the early morning and afternoon feeling like death. Then, as evening approaches, I'm wide awake, totally unable to sleep until well after midnight.
This Ceci bean soup was perfect for my exhausted state of mind earlier in the day. All the ingredients were in my pantry and it took very little time preparing the final dish. I used canned chickpeas and used a stick blender to puree the soup right in the pot. The soup is thick, but not heavy, with a fluffy texture. The chickpeas and tomatoes gave it a lovely sweet flavor, with an assist from sage and rosemary.
The little chicken was a Mother's day gift from Upsie and Sundance. He was hand carved in Mexico by an artist named Antonio Xuano (the name is written on the bottom of the chicken's feet). Beautiful work Antonio.
Ceci Bean Soup
(Adapted from Williams-Sonoma)
2 Tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
4 fresh sage leaves, chopped
2 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped, or 2 cups drained, seeded canned tomatoes
3 cups cooked chickpeas
5 cups chicken broth
1 fresh rosemary sprig
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Parmesan for garnish
In a soup pot over medium-low heat, add olive oil and heat until hot. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until translucent, 4 to 6 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add the sage and tomatoes and cook, stirring, until the tomatoes are tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the ceci beans, broth and rosemary and cook, stirring, for 20 minutes.
Remove the rosemary and discard. Using a stick blender, puree the soup until smooth and blended. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into individual bowls and top each serving with a spoonful of parmesan. Serves 4 to 6.