Autumn has finally arrived in full swing and my body craves lots of giant scarves, hot cider, and warm, comforting soups. I usually tend toward thinner, vegetable-heavy soups, and was never one for the jiggly, over-the-top thickness of, say, a cheddar broccoli. But on one of the chilly nights I spent camping out last month I found myself thinking up a recipe for a hearty, creamy, nutty bisque, a cup of which would be the soup equivalent of your favorite cozy sweater. It has all the dreaminess of a thick and buttery "cream of" soup without any of the weight or oiliness. This scrumptious and savory treat, with seasoned almond slices sprinkled on top, is definitely going to be a regular in my kitchen this fall. Plus, it's a breeze to make!
Makes 4 servings
1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained
1 cup raw, unsalted whole almonds
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups almond milk
1/2 onion, halved, and stuck with 4 whole cloves
2 bay leaves
1/8 tsp white pepper
2 - 2.5 cups vegetable stock (Avoid a tomato-based one, if possible. Faux chicken flavor is best)
Savory Almond Slices:
3/4 cup sliced almonds
1.5 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp garlic powder
salt, to taste
Preheat oven to 375.
In a 9x13 glass baking dish, toss chickpeas and almonds with garlic, salt, and enough olive oil to lightly coat the beans and almonds. Place in the oven and roast, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes, tossing every 8-10 minutes, or until the chickpeas are slightly browned and starting to crisp.
While the chickpeas and almonds roast, bring the almond milk, onion, bay leaves, and white pepper to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Meanwhile, heat sliced almonds in a skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until JUST starting to brown. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Heat olive oil in the saucepan and add cayenne, allspice, cumin, garlic powder, and salt, stirring over medium heat for about a minute. Lower the heat, add the almonds and shake one or two dashes of Liquid Smoke in. Cook, stirring, until almonds are evenly coated, and add more salt or seasonings to taste. Remove from heat and set aside.
Once the chickpeas are done, pour the almond milk mixture into the glass dish, scraping up any fond, and set aside for 10 minutes. Bring 2.5 cups of vegetable stock to a boil. While the stock heats, take the bay leaves out and empty the glass baking dish into a high speed blender and blend until creamy. Add 1.5 cups of the broth and blend until smooth, adding more stock as needed.
Serve with spiced almonds on top.
Leftover soup may need to be thinned a bit when you reheat it, and a splash of almond milk does the trick perfectly. Enjoy!