This vegan grass peas soup with potatoes can be made in one pot and is ideal for giving yourself a warm embrace on cold winter evenings!
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Winter soups are my passion. This One Pot Cicerchie and Potatoes Soup is easy to prepare and tastes great, you will love it!
What Cicerchie are
Cicerchie – abroad, outside Italy you can find them under the name of Grass Peas – are a precious and ancient legume, known in the past to be the main food of the peasant tradition. It is particularly rich in protein legume that was already consumed in Mesopotamia more than 8000 years ago.
In Italy, in past centuries it was consumed especially during famines because it was very nutritious. It contains B vitamins, proteins, minerals, fiber and polyphenols, calcium, and phosphorus.
For this reason and for the fact that, unlike other legumes, it does not need a lot of water during the cooking process, Cicerchie were, together with potatoes and onions, one of the few things that were easy to find in times of famine.
Its plant is very similar to that of chickpeas, but the Cicerchie are even more resistant to hot and dry climates and inhospitable soils.
Today not everyone knows about this legume because for a long time it was considered harmful. The high consumption of grass peas, in fact, could cause neurological disorders due to a particular “acid” contained in them. Grass Peas, in fact, contains an amino acid called Odap which can be toxic to the body. For it to be toxic, however, an almost daily, prolonged, and abundant consumption is necessary.
On the contrary, if consumed from time to time and after prolonged soaking and cooking, any negative effect on the human body is eliminated.
Italy has accredited Cicerchie collected in Lazio, Tuscany, Umbria, Marche, Abruzzo, Molise and Puglia, as a traditional agri-food product .
How to prepare Cicerchie for your Soup
The main question is; is it possible to minimize grass peas toxicity? Of course, it is possible to avoid all potential negative effects!
The recommendation is to give the grass peas a long soak before cooking in water for at least 24 hours.
Pour so much water that it covers the legumes and exceeds by about 3 cm. At the time of cooking, you will have to replace the soaking water with new clean, unsalted water.
This procedure will eliminate all the toxins released by the legumes and will help to eliminate the bitterness too.
How to make a perfect One Pot Soup
There are various methods to prepare Cicerchie and Potatoes Soup. This one pot way is the one I prefer. It is practical, and it allows me not to dirty the whole kitchen.
I like to add potatoes directly into the soup because they flake off during cooking and give a sweet and creamy texture.
Which pasta to choose for the Cicerchie Soup
I have to admit: this soup is really yummy on its own as it is. But with pasta it reaches the sublime!!!
These are the pasta shapes that in my opinion go best with this soup:
- Razor clams
- Broken spaghetti
- Mixed pasta for soup
- Sagne: a rectangular pasta shape typical of the cuisine of central Italy, characterized by the dough-based only on water, flour and salt.
If you prefer to avoid any pasta, you can easily complete your dish by dipping some delicious bread croutons in the soup, you will feel what a taste. Here is the recipe for a perfect bread for your croutons.
The importance of the right spices
The Cicerchie and Potato Soup reach its maximum level of flavor with the right amount of spice.
Rosemary, bay leaf, thyme, and oregano are my perfect combination. But sage and marjoram are also great options.
A little tip that I usually use to avoid going crazy to collect all the sprigs of spices, is to use spices bags.
Spice Bags are small containers in natural cotton with a convenient tying, the residue does not leak, they are reusable, safety and health used for cooking when the separation of waste and loaded with spices. You just have to insert the desired spices, to close the bag, and to immerse it directly in the cooking pot.
In this way, the spices will release all their aroma in the soup, but without getting lost inside.
At the appropriate time, it will be sufficient to bring out the bag. And you no longer have to stir in the soup to look for the missing leaves!
- 300 g dried Cicerchie (grass peas)
- 2 small potatoes
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 celery stick
- 1 carrot
- 600 ml vegetable broth
- 120 g pasta for soup
- 6 cherry tomato
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 500 ml of water
- Pour the grass peas into a bowl and cover with salted water, leave for at least 24 hours.
- After 12 hours rinse and drain the water.
- Coarsely chop the celery, carrot, and garlic.
- Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a pot and pour the chopped vegetables. Stir fry them for 2 minutes.
- Pour the grass peas into the pot and gently stir to flavor legumes with oil.
- Peel and reduce potatoes into squared cubes, then pour them into the pot.
- Add the chopped tomatoes.
- Pour inside broth that you have already warmed.
- If you have one put all spices (rosemary, thyme and
laurel) in a spice bag, and add them into the pot.
- Do not add salt (it should only be put at the end of the cooking process).
- Cover with a lid and let the legumes cook for about 2 hours over very low heat.
- After two hours, taste to check if the legumes are soft and cooked.
- At this point, season with salt and pepper (if you like, you can also add ½ dry chili pepper). Remove the bag with the spices (if you like it (as I do) you can you a few rosemary bunches for garnish.
- To get a creamier texture, using a hand blender and lightly blend the legumes directly in the pot.
- IF YOU LIKE TO ADD PASTA ON YOUR SOUP FOLLOW DIRECTIONS BELOW
- Pour the warm water into the pot and wait for it to simmer again.
- Pour pasta directly into the pot and cook according to the cooking times indicated on the package.
- Save some extra hot water to add if the soup becomes too thick while cooking the pasta.
- Once the pasta is cooked, adjust with salt and pepper if needed and pour over your soup the remaining raw oil.
I hope you’ve loved this recipe as much as I do!