Sunday, August 9, 2009

Season of Soup - Chilli Chickpea soup with De Iuliis Hunter Valley Aged Semillon 2002

I was down at ‘Blackhearts and Sparrows’ in Brunswick last week in need of a wine that would match up to my chickpea and onion soup. The wine needed to have plenty of mouth-feel and weight to go up against a very viscous and nutty soup.

I could have gone the easy option with an Alsacean Riesling or Australian Pinot Gris, but instead went for something that I hoped would be both a great drink and an inspired choice for the soup; should have gone the safe bet. But first the soup.

My chilli chickpea and onion soup sounds simple and it is. This soup can be prepared in quick time which is good for the corporate high flyers out there who also have to juggle a couple of kids. A real straightforward flavour about this one – chickpeas gives that lovely nutty flavour with the chilli adding that extra factor to the palate

· 2 x 400g cans of chickpea’s or 500g cold soaked chickpea’s
· 4 x onions, chopped
· ½ red chilli
· 2 x cloves of garlic
· 1 litre of water
· Salt and pepper to taste
· Good olive oil
· Crusty bread
· Swimming goggles – for chopping the onions

Heat oil in saucepan on low heat and glaze the chilli for about five minutes and discard. Sauté onions and garlic until soft. One big mistake us humans make with cooking is having the pan or pot too hot. All you need is a low flame which means the heat in the pan/pot is going to be more consistent.

Once onions are done, add the water and chickpeas, set to boil and then simmer for 20 minutes. Once there is a real chickpea smell coming from the pot, blitz and serve with bread.

It’s probably a good idea to let the soup cool for about 15 minutes, otherwise you risk burning your tongue like this amateur chef did.

The Wine:
As I said before, I was looking for something with a bit of weight and structure, so on paper the De Iuliis Hunter Valley 2002 Aged Semillon looked the goods. Me shooting 6 under in the final round of the US Masters looks good on paper also; seems like I’ve found a good use for paper then.

The wine has quite a pale look to it, so the aging has got a long way to go I reckon. The nose is very fresh with a little bit of wax there and citrus at the end. In the mouth there is more citrus – lemon, honey, toast and a little bit of spice, but it was just a little, not the lot that I thought there would be.

You know what, it’s a nice wine, but not with my chickpea and onion soup. Go with a Pinot Gris I reckon.

Drink till 2014


  1. That recipe is going straight through to the house chef for making. I shall also visit ye olde Blackhearts to pick up a Pinot Gris to match. Yum!

  2. Yep, next cosy winter's night in I shall be making that soup - with soaked chickpeas cos I'm a snob (I'm all for convenience foods, but canned chickpeas just aren't the same!)