This is a Tuscan pureed garbanzo soup by Anne Burell with the wonderful flavors of garlic, rosemary and thyme. It's creamy and delicious and really is a meal by itself.
- extra virgin olive oil
- 1⁄4 lb pancetta, cut into 1/2 inch dice
- 1 large onion, cut into 1/2 inch dice
- 2 celery ribs, cut into 1/2 inch dice
- 1 large carrot, cut into 1/2 inch dice
- 6 garlic cloves, smashed, divided
- 2 pinches crushed red pepper flakes
- kosher salt
- 1 lb chickpeas, soaked overnight
- 2 quarts chicken stock
- 1 bunch fresh thyme
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 quart water
- 3 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped
- 5 -6 slices country bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- Coat a large pot with olive oil, add the pancetta and bring to a medium heat. When it starts to become crispy, add the onion, celery, carrots, 3 cloves of garlic, pinch of crushed pepper and season lightly with salt.
- Sweat the veggies for 6 - 7 minutes or until they become very aromatic and begin to soften.
- Drain the water from the soaked chickpeas, rinse and add to the pot. Add the chicken stock, thyme bundle, bay leaves and 1 quart of water.
- Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer until the chickpeas are very soft and falling apart, about 1 1/2 - 2 hours.
- Turn off the heat, season the water with salt and let sit for 15 - 20 minutes.
- Fill a skillet with olive oil until it is about 1/2 inch deep, add the remaining 3 garlic cloves, the rosemary leaves and a pinch of crushed pepper and bring it to a medium heat. Remove the garlic once it's golden.
- Add the bread cubes and cook until they start to become crispy and golden.
- Season with salt and remove the croutons from the oil to a bowl, reserving the rosemary oil.
- Add the infused oil to the soup, Puree the soup in a food processor, blender or food mill, correct the seasoning and consistency if necessary.
- If the soup is too thin, cook it a little more to reduce it, if it's too thick, thin it by adding more stock or water.
- Ladle the soup into serving bowls, top with the croutons and fried garlic chips and finish with a drizzle of olive oil.