Umbrian Winter Recipes - Chickpeas and Chard

A delicious soup - not only for vegans!

Lentils in blossom in the high plane of Castelluccio di Norcia. Photo: F. Ciminari -
Lentils in blossom in the high plane of Castelluccio di Norcia. Photo: F. Ciminari -

Legumes were always regarded as "poor people's food", which was true for centuries.

In the Mediterranean, chickpeas were one of the most important sources of protein in the diet. But since vegetarian and vegan dishes have become fashionable, lentils and other legumes are increasingly popular.

As a child, I loved chickpeas because my grandmother had told me that they make you happy and giggle. This is because in German chickpeas are called "Kichererbsen" ("giggle peas").

To me they were almost as magical as the "Krumelur pills" of Pippi Longstocking, which should keep you from growing up (but unfortunately they could not be found anywhere!).
And indeed, after a chickpea stew our whole family was always in a giggly mood  ...  

Only later I discovered, that the chickpeas do not have anything to do with "giggling" (except in one's imagination), but the German word "Kichererbsen" comes from the Latin name of the plant "cicer".

By the way: If you buy chickpeas, lentils and other legumes from the Umbrian cultivation areas of Castelluccio di Norcia or from Colfiorito you are supporting the farmes who are still suffering from the consequences of the earthquakes in 2016!

Mamma Ornella presents to you a delicious recipe for a chickpeas and chard soup which has been passed on to her by her friend Romana.

Cacciucco di ceci

Cacciucco di Ceci
Cacciucco di Ceci

Chick pea and chard soup

For 4 persons

200 g dried chick peas, 100 g of chard, 1 small can of peeled tomatoes, 100 ml of tomato puree, about 1 l vegetable stock, olive oil, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 onion, salt, pepper, peperoncino (chili powder)

Soak the chick peas overnight in plenty of water. Drain them the next day and boil them in fresh water for 2 to 3 hours. They should be soft but still "al dente".
Cut the onion into rings, finely chop the garlic, fry both in olive oil and add some chili powder. Drain the boiled chickpeas and add the onions and garlic together with the vegetable broth. Cut the tomatoes into pieces and add to the soup together with the tomato puree. Cook for about 20 minutes.
Cut the washed chard into pieces and add them to the soup. Let simmer for another 10 minutes, season with salt and pepper. If you like add more chilli powder.
Serve with a little fresh olive oil and ground pepper.

Ornella is happy to share her kitchen secrets with you.

In her cookery classes of course she will not only show you how to prepare dishes with chickpeas and lentils, but many other Umbrian specialties like mushrooms, wild boar and homemade pasta.

Dates for cookery classes with Ornella 2020:

Spring: May 16 to 23, 2020 (only few availabilities left)
Autumn: October 10 to 17, 2020

Find more information about the cookery classes HERE

And during our culinary weeks you get an even deeper insight into the food culture of Umbria and Tuscany:
Every day excursions to culinary insider tips, visits to unusual restaurants, participation in a truffle hunt, wine tasting and sightseeing tours.

Dates for culinary weeks 2020:

Spring: April 4 to 11, 2020
Autumn: October 30 to November 7, 2020 (only two more availabilities left)

Find more information about the full immersion culinary weeks HERE


HERE you can watch a video about our full Immersion Culinary Weeks

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