This Chickpea & Sausage Soup is a perfect example of what’s called ‘cucina povera’ or ‘cooking of the poor.’ It uses simple, low-cost ingredients to make a hearty soup that’s not much to look at, but is totally delicious to eat. Warming and satisfying, it makes the perfect meal on a cold day or a soothing and comforting choice if you’re weary and not feeling your best. We’ve used canned chickpeas for convenience, but you can cook your own from scratch and use their cooking broth instead of chicken stock.
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot over medium-high. Add the sausage, and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon. Once well browned, pour the sausage onto a plate lined with paper towels. Set aside.
2. In the same pot, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sauté the onions, celery, carrot, thyme, salt, and pepper over medium-high heat. Cook until the onions have turned translucent. Add the chickpeas and cook for another 5 minutes.
3. Add the water or broth and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes.
4. Puree half of the soup, then return to the pot. Stir in the sausage, lemon juice, and chopped spinach or arugula. Taste for seasoning and serve.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- ⅔ pound mild or hot Italian chicken or turkey sausages squeezed out of their casings (see Ann’s Tips)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 celery rib, cut into ½ inch dice
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into ½-inch dice
- 4 sprigs of thyme
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 (14 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth or water
- Juice from 1 lemon
- 1 cup chopped spinach or arugula
Ann's Tips and Tricks
If you buy your sausages by the piece, there are usually about 5 to a pound. For this recipe, a rule of thumb is: use 1 sausage for 2 servings, 3 for 4 servings, and 4 for 6 servings. Always use fresh sausages and not the pre-cooked, smoked varieties.
Always drain and rinse canned beans to remove the salt before adding them to your dishes. Even the salt content of most low-sodium beans is too high per serving. Check nutrition labels.