Creamy Provencal chickpea soup, also known as Fourmade, is at its very core a hearty soup made by an impoverished people to provide an inexpensive and healthy yet filling meal. It’s surprisingly rich and luxurious tasting. So much so that even my 9-year-old son is convinced it has cream in it. Once you make the basic recipe try embellishing with leeks, chickpeas, grated Parmesan, cooked rice or even croutons fried in olive oil.
I originally set about making it after reading a recipe for a very similar soup in Marcella Hazan‘s book ‘Marcella Cucina‘. That led me to grab my copy of J.B. Reboul’s classic on Provencal cuisine ‘La Cuisinière Provençale’ and find his recipe for chickpea soup entitled Soupo de Cece. This is the perfect recipe for right now during the covid-19 quarantine. It is easy enough to make; tasty for the whole family; and easy on the pocketbook. Give it a try today!
Provencal Chickpea Soup
Easy to master Provencal chickpea soup is so surprisingly rich and luxurious tasting, that even my 9-year-old son is convinced it has cream in it.
- 1 cup chickpea flour
- 2 quarts cool water
- 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or Espelette (or nothing)
- 2 teaspoons flake sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 leeks washed well and diced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 15 ounces canned chickpeas
Put chickpea flour, water, herbes, cumin, Aleppo, salt, pepper, and oil into a blender and blend until smooth, about 15 seconds. Pour the contents into a Dutch oven and heat slowly over low to medium heat until hot, about 30 minutes, stirring often. Adjust seasoning to your taste.
For the leeks, slowly cook washed leeks in olive oil over a low flame at a grandmotherly pace until they almost melt, about 30 minutes. Add to soup. For the chickpeas, open can and add both the liquid and the chickpeas.
Tip: Use a whisk to stir the soup to keep it from scorching on the bottom. There is nothing worse than eating gritty leeks, but I learned a trick for easily cleaning them. Dice the leeks and cover them with cold water in a large bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and agitate the water. The salt acts as an abrasive, and the dirt and sand will settle to the bottom of the bowl. With a slotted spoon, scoop the leeks out of the water. Do not pour the leeks and water through a strainer because you would just be pouring the sand back over the leeks.
Marcella Hazan Version: In her lovely book, Marcella Cucina, Marcella offers a simple variation made without chickpea flour. Simply slowly cook leeks, add cooked chickpeas and water and simmer until done. Puree a few ladle fulls of soup and add back to the broth. Finish soup with grated Parmesan and black pepper.