When I was growing up, my parents had a fruit and vegetable stall at the Prahran Market. When I was too young to serve customers, I would idle away the endless hours at the market playing with frogs and caterpillars, that we found amongst the bananas or the lettuce. When I was old enough to reach the weighing scales, I was then put to work serving customers. Friday was the longest trading day. My dad would be up from 2am going to the wholesale market to load up his Dyna truck with the highest quality, fresh produce he could find; my mum was up at 5am, arriving at the market before 6am in time to help my dad unload the truck, prepare the fruit and vegetable displays and begin a very busy selling day. My sister and I would join them after school and help with the Friday evening rush. The market closed at 6pm. We then packed up and cleaned up the stall – in preparation for an early start on Saturday morning – and then headed home, weary and hungry.
My mum always had a pot of soup on the cooktop waiting for us to enjoy when we returned home. She made the soup on Thursday. We had a rotating menu of three soups – fakes (lentil soup), fasoulada (bean soup) and revithosoupa (chickpea soup). My favourite was the revithosoupa – simple, delicious, satiating, with the really pleasing texture of chickpeas. My mum learnt to make her revithosoupa from her mum and I in turn have learnt it from her – it has become one of my family’s favourites too. The beauty of this soup is that it can be served at room temperature, warm or hot – depending on how you like to eat it and depending on how hot or cold the weather is. This is truly a soup for all seasons!
Make KO’s Revithosoupa – share your soup and share your love with family and friends now!
A simple to prepare, but hearty Greek chickpea soup.
You will need…
- 400 g dried chickpeas
- 1 1/2 litres water for soaking
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 2 brown onions finely chopped
- 4-5 medium ripe tomatoes pureed
- 1/2 cup olive oil extra virgin
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 litres water for cooking
How to make the Revithosoupa...
Sort through the chickpeas and discard any stones, chaff or distinctly discoloured chickpeas
Add the chickpeas, 1½ litres of water and bicarbonate of soda to a bowl and mix thoroughly
Soak the chickpeas overnight or for at least 8 – 10 hours
Place the chickpeas in a colander and rinse them thoroughly to remove all of the bicarbonate of soda
Add the chickpeas to a large (6 litre) pot
Add the chopped onions, pureed tomatoes, olive oil, salt and 2 litres of water
Bring the pot to a rolling boil and then reduce it to a gentle boil
Place a vented lid on the pot and continue to gently boil for at least 1 hour or until the chickpeas have cooked through
Check and stir the soup every 15-20 minutes
Make sure the chickpeas are covered by the stock; add more water if the stock level reduces too much and the chickpeas have yet to cook through
Allow the soup to rest for a few hours (or more) before serving
Serve the Revithosoupa
Serve the soup warm or hot with crusty bread and enjoy!
- Different chickpeas soften at different rates. Once the chickpeas have soaked, they may need more or less time to cook through. I have been using organic chickpeas to make this soup and I boil them for 1½ hours or more and they are still quite firm when they are cooked – they don’t seem to break apart or disintegrate, no matter how long I cook them. Just like pasta, the chickpeas should have a bit of body when you eat them – a small amount of resistance ‘to the tooth – al dente’ when you eat them – not hard and not mushy either.
- The riper the tomatoes, the deeper the colour of the soup and the richer the flavour. Tomatoes should never, ever be refrigerated. Buy the best quality tomatoes you can afford or grow your own in summer. Firm, red tomatoes can be used for salads or fresh salsas. When the tomatoes begin to ripen further and soften, remove their stalks, puree them – skin, seeds and all – and use them for sauces and soups!
- Like all soups, the longer you leave them to rest after the ingredients have cooked through, the better the flavours will come together.
- This recipe can be made without tomatoes and made more as a thick chickpea stew. You just need to reduce most of the liquids during the cooking process and allow the dish to rest (the longer the better). Before serving the chickpea stew, reheat it if you wish and then finish the dish with a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, some ground pepper and freshly squeezed lemon juice.