Today, I’m making another favourite soup recipe, Chickpea and Leek, this time from Jamie Oliver’s The Naked Chef cookbook. I believe this is the one that accompanied his first series, the one where he was seen cooking in a wee kitchen somewhere in London.
As usual, I’m not following the recipe slavishly – I like to do things my own way, doncha know. Even if I find some of Jamie Oliver’s directions a bit fussy, though, I like his moxie for suggesting them. And I like to imagine his lisp as he writes things like “The chickpeas go really creamy and the leeks go silky and sweet” and “I’m a bit of fresh herbs boy.” Hello, sailor.
Anyway, here’s my take on the recipe. You can also find the original on the Food Network site.

12 oz dried chickpeas, soaked overnight (I use canned chickpeas, a 14 oz can)
1 medium potato, peeled
5 medium leeks (or two or three monster-sized leeks)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
2 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
salt and pepper (fresh ground, natch)
3 cups of stock, chicken or veg
Parm cheese, grated


  1. Cover the potato with water in a saucepan and cook it until you can just about stick a fork through it. If you are using dried chickpeas, cook them with the potato until they are tender, and then drain.
  2. While the potato is cooking, slice the leeks. Start at the root end and work your way up. Discard the tough green leaves. If the leeks seem to have a bit of grit in them, rinse them before cooking. In a big stockpot or Dutch oven, warm the olive and butter over medium heat. Put the leeks and chopped garlic into the pot and just sort stir to coat them with the oil and butter. Cook until the leeks are, in Jamie’s words, “tender and sweet.”
  3. Add the chickpeas and potato to the pot. (I slightly underdid my potato, since it will continue to cook when I added the stock.) Add the stock. I added mine all at once, but Jamie adds only two-thirds now, and adds the rest later on, to better control the flavour and thickness of the soup. Bring the soup to just a boil, then turn the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper as you wish. Again, I used stock cubes, which already have a lot of salt in them. Sacrilege, I know. As for texture, you can leave it chunky, puree it (maybe with one of these) or do as I do, which is smooth the mix out with a potato masher. If you’ve left out a bit of the stock earler, add it now as you wish.
  5. To serve, grate some Parmesan into the soup and ladle into bowls. Jamie reccomends a drizzle of good olive oil but if you are clumsy and only own crappy supermarket brand stuff like me, I’d say skip the garnish and get right to the eatin’.

My husband doesn’t eat leeks so I get this all to myself.

Leek and chickpea soup