This bean and chickpea soup is originally from Liguria. A land rich in similar recipes, thanks to a traditional economy that has always united the quality of inland products and the quantitative abundance due to maritime traffic.
Everything that has to do with bean and chickpea soup, as with all other Ligurian recipes based on cereals and dried legumes. In fact, the widespread poverty of past centuries (in Liguria as throughout Italy) has created a Cuisine based on everything edible you can get.. And in LiguriaOne thing you could get relatively easily was the Food remains scattered in the holds of transport ships.. Food of all kinds and in different quantities, which sailors and dockers collected and brought home by the handful. Today this, tomorrow that, but always things suitable for long-distance maritime transport, that is, cereals (wheat, corn, barley…) and dried legumes (beans, chickpeaspeas, beans…).
This is exactly how the tradition of mesciuethe very typical Ligurian soups based on mixtures of legumes and cereals.
Our bean and chickpea soup is basically a simplified version of mescìua. And it is also an old recipe, dating back to the end of the 19th century, which we offer you with very few updates. The variations, compared to the soups prepared by the Genoese “cuciniere” of 150 years ago, are really minimal. In practice we limit ourselves to reducing fat and adding bay leaves to give flavor to the beans and chickpeas.
So recipe with minimal variations, but the cooking procedure has been updated. Once upon a time, in fact, this was actually soup. The ingredients were placed in the pot and cooked until everything was a homogeneous soup. A procedure that is certainly still valid, but… as long as you like your soup with an almost porridge consistency.
In the case of bean and chickpea soup lThe original recipe obviously included dried legumes.. Is it possible to use the very convenient and already pre-cooked ones? Obviously yes. Time is always a tyrant and for some it is an implacable tyrant. Therefore, a good soup with canned products is better than no soup at all. Especially since, using precooked legumes, this recipe requires exactly 30 minutes to be prepared and brought to the table.
However, let it be clear that the flavor is not the same. If it’s possible, really. it is worth soaking the legumes and waiting for them to simmer gently for an hour or more.
And also a thickener is provided: cornstarch (Cornmeal) either potato starch. However, some also use plain flour, which undoubtedly thickens, thanks to the wheat starch it contains. However, in this case it is a mistake, because, given the different ways of cooking (with times now significantly reduced), the flour would leave a noticeable aftertaste that is better to avoid.
However, let us point out that potato starch is our addition: In the past, cornstarch was used or, if there was at home, leftover potatoes or mashed potatoes. Leftovers are harder to find these days, so starch, which is nothing more than dried, ground potatoes, is fine. Which, if desired, also makes it possible to completely avoid the use of thickener. Enough add a potato cut into small pieces and let it break down into the soupof beans and chickpeas.
- 150 g dried beans
- 150 g dried chickpeas
- 6-7 cabbage leaves
- 1 heaped tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 carrot
- ½ stalk of celery
- 1 onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 level tablespoons cornstarch or potato starch
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Beans and chickpeas should be boiled separately, as they have different cooking times and can even be very different. Soak them for more than 12 hours and then cook them as follows. Take them out of the soaking, rinse them and pour them into a saucepan with plenty of clean, cold, unsalted water. Bring to a boil, season with a bay leaf and leave. cook slowly for the necessary time. They must be cooked to perfection, but without falling apart. Salt should be added (in moderation) at the end, when there are 10 minutes of cooking left. Finally, we remove the bay leaf and let it cool before draining the legumes. Attention: do not throw away all the cooking watersave 1 liter, ½ of the chickpeas and ½ of the beans
- Wash and clean the carrot, celery and onion, chop them together and pour them into a frying pan with 4 tablespoons of oil. Add the clove of garlic, a tablespoon of chopped parsley and let it fry for a few minutes. Now also add the cabbage leaves chopped into small pieces and a saucepan of hot water in which you have dissolved the tomato paste. Cover the saucepan and cook over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring several times.
- When the chopped vegetables are well wilted, dissolve the cornstarch or potato starch with a saucepan of hot water and pour it into the pan. Season with salt and mix well
- Finally, we add the chickpeas and beans to the saucepan, reserving almost all of the cooking water: about 800 ml. You can use the remaining water at the end if you want a thinner soup. Complete cooking for about 20 minutes over medium-low heat and without a lid. Then serve your bean and chickpea soup very hot, with a splash of oil, without cheese.