Pajama Soup

Imagine sitting on the couch in your favorite pajamas and fuzzy socks with a mermaid pattern (or what have you). Now drape a cozy blanket around your shoulders.

That, in an analogous nutshell, is this soup.

Chickpeas and spinach are ensconced in silken pajamas of creamy roux and a fresh loaf of honey beer bread acts as the blanket that wraps up this meal perfectly.

Make a pajama party out of any night with this friendly meal!

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Creamy Chickpea & Spinach Soup

2 Shallots, Minced (One Small Onion also works)
2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
Olive Oil
4 Tbs. Unsalted Butter
¼ Cup AP Flour
4 Tbs. Butter
1, 32 oz. Container Vegetable Broth
2, 16 oz. Cans Chickpeas, Rinsed & Drained
1, 10 oz.  Package Frozen Chopped Spinach (Thawed or not, either way works)
2 Tsp. Dried Thyme
2 Tsp. Dried Oregano
2 Tsp. Dried Savory*
2 Dried Bay Leaves
Salt & Pepper
Pecorino Romano Cheese (Optional)

Drizzle about a  tablespoon or so of olive oil in your favorite soup pot and heat on medium high
Toss in the shallots, lower the heat to medium and let them sizzle for a minute before adding the garlic
Allow the garlic to sauté for another minute
Add the butter and allow to melt completely
While whisking the butter, gently sift the flour in stages ensure to whisk out any lumps
Once all of the flour is incorporated, continue to whisk for about two minutes
Pour in the veggie broth
Add the dried seasonings along with 2 tsp. of salt and 1 tsp. of black pepper
Cover the pot and bring the soup to a boil
Meanwhile, take one cup of the rinsed and drained chickpeas in a separate bowl and use a fork to crush them up**
Drop in dollops of the crushed chickpeas
When they are incorporated, add the whole chickpeas
Add the frozen (or thawed) spinach and cover the pot, allowing the soup to come back to a bubble
Leave the soup simmering on low til ready to serve
Ladle into bowls and top with a generous grating of pecorino Romano (or other tasty cheese)

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Honey Beer Bread happens to be the very first recipe posted on Merrily Baking It, and it continues to be the perfect standby when fresh bread for dipping is desired. No kneading or rising required.

The subtle sweetness complements a savory soup, plus the texture is perfect for soaking up a gorgeous broth.

Check out the original recipe, keeping in mind that any beer can be used. This time around I kept it festive with Holiday Cheer from Shiner. I also used whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose, just because it felt like the right move at the time. It definitely worked out!

 

*Note: The herb savory is funny because of the common descriptive nature of that word in cooking. Any dried herbs can be used in this soup, so as with all of the recipes I post feel free to get creative. For more straightforward information about savory, I found this article helpful.

**Note: I will be honest. The 1 cup of chickpeas that I crushed with a fork, I actually handed to my bearded counterpart and “asked” him to do it. Not because I did not think I could do it myself, but simply because I thought he needed a task and bean crushing seemed appropriate. A couple of things to keep in mind when embarking on this step. The consistency can remain chunky and textured. Additionally, if crushing the chickpeas with a fork is not working for you, either skip it or bring in the heavy machinery (like a food processor or blender).

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