Off-the-shelf items can make a dynamite weeknight meal (or a fancy party first course) that goes together in minutes. Everything here can be gotten pre-prepared (even white rice!). Of course, use 'from scratch' as desired (we had a chicken breast in the freezer, ready for cooking). We took the elements of a recipe in Food and Wine Magazine and adapted it to our tastes. Great all year round, but particularly warming on a cold or rainy night.
Serves 3- 4 as an appetizer or 2 as a light meal, perhaps with a nice salad. We enjoyed a little garlic bread on the side.
Piquillo Pepper and Chickpea Soup with Chicken (or Shrimp)
3/4 cup jarred roasted red bell (preferrably piquillo) peppers, drained, about 6 ounces
1/4 cup thin strips of oil-packed sun dried tomatoes or jarred roasted red bells (preferably piquillos)
3/4 cup hummus, about 7 ounces
2 cups chicken or beef stock
1 tsp rice wine vinegar or 3/4 tsp white wine vinegar
1/4 tsp sugar
1/2 cup white rice, cooked.
1 cup shredded rotisserie chicken or small cooked shrimps, warmed
Salt & freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro or flat-leaf parsley
Oil from oil packed sun-dried tomatoes or olive oil (preferably extra virgin), for drizzling
Hot sauce, for serving (optional)
Piquillo peppers are smaller and meatier than regular red bell peppers. They have a wonderful flavor. We like to cook chicken breasts on a cast-iron stove-top grill pan. Store-bought rotisserie chicken is a great alternative for this quick and easy soup.
In a blender or a food processor, combine the whole red peppers with the hummus and stock and puree until smooth. Transfer to a medium saucepan. Add the vinegar, sugar and rice, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. If you like, cook down slightly for a thicker soup. This can be done in advance and stored in the refrigerator which will also help thicken it up a bit.
Ladle hot soup into bowls. Top with the chicken or shrimp and sliced sun-dried tomatoes or red peppers. Garnish with the cilantro or parsley. Drizzle with oil from the jar of sun-dried tomatoes or olive oil (extra virgin preferred). Also, drizzle with hot sauce if desired.
WINE SUGGESTION: A French or California grown Grenache from what some have called the 'more compelling' French clones is our choice.