Chickpea Stew with Saffron, Yogurt, and Garlic

Chickpea Stew with Saffron, Yogurt, and Garlic

While I’d love to tell you that have a fabulously organized master plan for cooking my way through Food52’s Genius Recipes… I don’t! I happened to have most of the ingredients for Heidi Swanson’s Chickpea Stew with Saffron, Yogurt, and Garlic, so it was next up to bat.

I’ve been a fan of Heidi Swanson and her website, 101 Cookbooks, ever since I stumbled across them several years ago. I own two of her cookbooks, Super Natural Cooking and Super Natural Everyday. Both her cookbooks and her site are full of beautiful imagery and food. I have this image of Heidi living in an effortless state of zen-like world… but I have to remind myself that her seemingly effortless life & style are both likely the product of a lot of hard work.

But I digress.

The soup. Delicious, smooth, creamy. It was very similar to avgolemono soup. Delicately scented of saffron and subtle of flavor, this is an elegant addition to the table as an app or a light entrée. The recipe that I’ve given below reflects a few small changes that I’ve made based on what I had on hand. I used chicken stock in place of veggie and a Vidalia onion in place of a yellow one. Also, I managed to have 4 kinds of paprika in my cabinet and not one of them was the sweet paprika that was called for. I used sumac instead. The dark red sumac was really nice against the pale yellow soup and it gave a tart pop of flavor.

I will, in all likelihood, make this one again. I’m thinking about giving it a different twist with coconut milk, ginger, lemongrass and Thai chile.

Tips, Tidbits & Sources I’d Recommend:

  • The chickpeas were dried and from Rancho Gordo. If you order from RG, treat yourself to some of their other offerings. My favorite Rancho Gordo bean is the yellow eyed bean. It makes a most delicious bean broth.
  • I reconstituted the chickpeas from an unsoaked state in an InstantPot pressure cooker on high pressure for 35 minutes. 1 pound of chickpeas and 7 cups of water.
  • I bought the sumac and saffron from The Spice House in Chicago. I’ve been ordering from their site for years. Their product and people are wonderful. (Too bad I didn’t also get sweet paprika from them!)

Recipe: Chickpea Stew with Saffron, Yogurt, and Garlic
Recipe type: Soup
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • Fine-grain sea salt
  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon saffron threads
  • 3 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • Sumac
  • Small bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
  1. In a medium-large pot over medium-high heat, combine the olive oil, onion, and a couple of big pinches of salt. Cook until the onions soften up a bit, a few minutes.
  2. Stir in the chickpeas, and then add the vegetable broth and garlic. Bring to a simmer and remove from heat.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the saffron and egg yolks, then whisk in the yogurt. Slowly add a big ladle, at least 1 cup, of the hot broth to the yogurt mixture, stirring constantly. Very slowly whisk this mixture back into the pot of soup.
  4. Return the pot to medium heat and cook, stirring continuously for another 5 minutes or so, until the broth thickens to the consistency of heavy cream, never quite allowing broth to simmer.
  5. Ladle into individual bowls and serve sprinkled with a touch of sumac and a generous amount of chopped cilantro.
The original recipe called for sweet paprika rather than sumac. Sweet paprika is the only kind of paprika that I don't currently have in my pantry so I used sumac. It added a nice tart pop to the dish.

Recipe adapted slightly from <a href="">Food52 Genius Recipes: 100 Recipes That Will Change the Way You Cook</a><img src="" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" />