chick pea leek soup

A relatively new philly Middle Eastern restaurant name was whispered to ani by our Lebanese hair-dresser so bob looked up the on-line info/reviews to see if it was worth trying out. One of the satisfied customers mentioned a hummus leek soup, which intrigued bob, but googling it turned up nothing. However, hummus really means chick peas, so the next attempt turned up quite a few hits with an interesting one near the top posted by Meg in Paris May 2004 some 2 nearly 3 years earlier which was her version of a recipe from the Naked Chef Jamie Oliver whose friend Bender in turn had found it in some old cookbook.

The sautéed onions and leeks called for here (actually the onions were in other similar recipes we found) evoked memories of our chestnut cream soup starter of onions, leeks and celery and it just so happened that we had some sorry looking left over celery wasting away in the fridge that would make a fine addition to this current recipe, so we threw that in too. Some fresh parsley too. And some parmigiano rinds that had been waiting for their moment, a moment which never seemed to come. The Italian tradition is to throw them into soup to add flavor. Since this actually called for grated parmigiano in the simmering phase, the rinds could join the party finally. We momentarily forgot them when ani did the hand blender action thing and we had to fish them out temporarily to continue. Maybe ani was a bit too enthusiastic since there weren't a whole lot of whole chick peas left intact as suggested.

It had been a cold winter day, so comfort food soup was a good call for a supper starter (leftovers completed the menu). And it was pretty quick considering. But best of all, it packed a real flavor punch. Yummo, as Rachel Ray would say.



what meg did in Paris: what we did in Philly (okay, nearby in the burbs):
a couple of T butter and a drizzle of olive oil 4 T unsalted butter
5 leeks 2 medium leeks
  1 onion
  1 large celery stalk
a couple of cloves of garlic 2 big garlic cloves, pressed
12 oz / about two cups chickpeas, either soaked overnight and cooked until soft or canned 1 20 oz can cooked chick peas
4-5 c of vegetable or chicken broth 3 c vegetable broth (boiling water plus additive)
1/2 c freshly grated Parmesan plus extra for garnish 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan (plus some optional rinds)
salt and pepper to taste salt and pepper to taste
1 T chopped fresh thyme (meg option)  
2 T chopped fresh parsley (meg option) 2-3 T chopped fresh parsley
crispy bacon bits for garnish (meg option)  


  1. Start about 4 c of water boiling in a teapot for mixing up the veggie broth (we only need 3 but remember evaporation).
  2. Clean the leeks and celery stalk, skin the onion and chop into smaller pieces to food process together briefly into bits.
  3. Heat the butter in a nonstick flat bottomed pot and dump in the processed trio, press the garlic cloves on top and sauté until softened and aromatic (smells good). If we had remembered we would have added some salt to bring out the flavors but as usual we forgot.
  4. Meanwhile clean and chop the parsley.
  5. Then pour in 1 1/2 c of the boiling broth (mix on the fly) and the drained chick peas, and puree half the mixture with a hand blender. Try to leave at least half the chick peas intact for aesthetic appeal.
    Alternative: Either reserve 2/3 to 1/2 the chick peas and puree, then add the remaining chick peas, or try adding a small container of hummus before pureeing and then dump in all of the chick peas intact.
  6. Add another 1 1/2 c of the boiling broth, then mix in the parmigiano (and optional rinds), pepper and adjust the salt (meg's optional thyme?), then simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  7. Meg topped off the individual servings with bacon bits and shaved parmigiano. We did not. Meg also recommends serving with good crusty bread. We do too, but alas we had none. It was terrific anyway. Maybe the Italian powdered veggie broth amount for 2 liters we threw into our 3 cups of boiling water before reading the label added a supercharge to the flavor.


  1. Sahara Grill Restaurant, 1334 Walnut St, Center City, Philly.
  2. Meg in Paris: Bender's Chickpea and Leek Soup
  3. Jamie Oliver, The Naked Chef.
  4. Yummo?
  5. Illustrations available.
chkplksp.htm: 25-feb-2007 [what, ME cook? © 1984 dr bob enterprises]