Looking for a warm, filling and healthy soup for a cold winter's night? Try this, which was inspired by a recipe in the February, 2008, issue of Real Simple magazine. Mmm, mmm, good!
Chickpea and Sausage Stew
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 stalks celery, sliced
2 carrots, sliced
5 links chicken-asiago sausage [or any flavorful sausage], sliced
2 cups chicken stock
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
8 oz. dried chickpeas, cooked and drained
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 large bag fresh baby spinach leaves
In a large skillet, sauté the onion, garlic, celery, carrots and sausage in the olive oil until vegetables are soft and sausage is browned. Remove from heat.
In a large saucepan, heat chicken stock and tomato paste. Add cilantro to stock along with chickpeas. Add vegetable and sausage mixture from skillet and simmer all ingredients until flavors are blended. I simmered this soup for about two hours, but it could have been ready in half an hour.
Just before serving, add spinach leaves to soup and stir until spinach is wilted.
Serve with crusty warm bread; offer herb-infused olive oil for dipping.