Serves 8
Soup

Ingredients

Part 1: For the Sweet Potato Broth
  • medium onion,1,,sliced,
  • celery stalks,3,,chopped,
  • carrot,1,,chopped
  • olive oil,,,,california-olive-ranch-extra-virgin-olive-oil
  • large sweet potato,1,,,
  • whole cloves,5,,,whole-cloves
  • salt,,,,mortons-kosher-salt
  • pepper,,,,butchers-10-ground-black-pepper
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African Chickpea Soup

The first people in our family to get involved with genealogy were Uncle Paul and Aunt Sonia

Bontemps. Paul was the oldest son of the Bontemps family, his birth following so closely after Joan’s that Grandma referred to the siblings as “Irish twins.” Paul and Sonia’s wedding was considered the finest event the family ever threw; the details were discussed for decades.

Aunt Sonia was a doctor’s daughter and only child. With the help of her parents, Uncle Paul and Aunt Sonia purchased a large modern house near Artichoke Reservoir in Newburyport, Massachusetts.

As the years went by, Sonia and Paul developed a passionate interest in genealogy, helping to found an African American genealogical society and taking Grandma on a trip to revisit the scenes of her youth. They went through all the family stories, taking time to separate the fact from the fiction. One of the myths they explored but could not prove was that the Bontemps family had a connection to Madagascar. Whether or not this is true (how many descendants of slaves can really know their exact African origins?), the thought encouraged us to explore Madagascan foodstuffs and foodways, culminating in this hearty and healthy recipe. Many chickpea soups have evolved from North Africa; this one features coconut milk, a Madagascar signature. — From Soul Food Love by Alice Randall. Buy this book from Indiebound, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon.

Reprinted from Soul Food Love. Copyright © 2015 by Alice Randall and Caroline Randall Williams. Photographs copyright © 2015 by Penny De Los Santos. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.

Written By Alice Randall and Caroline Randall Williams | Mar 11, 2019

Ingredients

Part 1: For the Sweet Potato Broth
  • medium onion,1,,sliced,
  • celery stalks,3,,chopped,
  • carrot,1,,chopped
  • olive oil,,,,california-olive-ranch-extra-virgin-olive-oil
  • large sweet potato,1,,,
  • whole cloves,5,,,whole-cloves
  • salt,,,,mortons-kosher-salt
  • pepper,,,,butchers-10-ground-black-pepper
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Add All

Step one

In a large stockpot, sauté the onion, celery, and carrot in a tablespoon or so of olive oil—just enough to cover the bottom of your pot—over low heat. Meanwhile, peel and quarter the sweet potato. When the onion has softened, after about 8 minutes, add the sweet potato to the pot along with 6 cups of water, the cloves, and a little salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the sweet potato is completely soft, about 30 minutes.

Step two

Fish out the cloves, then puree the mixture in a blender or food processor, or if you’re working without fancy tools, by mashing the sweet potato into the side of the pot with a wooden spoon and stirring. If not using immediately, let cool, then cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 2 months.

Ingredients

Part 2: For the Chickpea Soup
  • mustard greens,8,cups,,
  • garlic,2,cloves,chopped,
  • olive oil,1,tablespoon,,california-olive-ranch-extra-virgin-olive-oil
  • crushed red pepper flakes,1,teaspoon,,syrian-style-red-pepper-flakes
  • ground coriander,1,teaspoon,,ground-indian-coriander
  • cayenne pepper,1/2,teaspoon,,cayenne-pepper
  • ground turmeric,pinch,,,organic-turmeric
  • Sweet Potato Broth,1,quart,,
  • unsweetened coconut milk,1,cup,,aroy-d-coconut-milk-14-oz
  • chickpeas,2,16-ounce cans,rinsed and drained,alwadi-chickpeas
  • salt,,,,mortons-kosher-salt
  • pepper,,,,butchers-10-ground-black-pepper
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Add All

Ingredients

Part 2: For the Chickpea Soup
  • mustard greens,8,cups,,
  • garlic,2,cloves,chopped,
  • olive oil,1,tablespoon,,california-olive-ranch-extra-virgin-olive-oil
  • crushed red pepper flakes,1,teaspoon,,syrian-style-red-pepper-flakes
  • ground coriander,1,teaspoon,,ground-indian-coriander
  • cayenne pepper,1/2,teaspoon,,cayenne-pepper
  • ground turmeric,pinch,,,organic-turmeric
  • Sweet Potato Broth,1,quart,,
  • unsweetened coconut milk,1,cup,,aroy-d-coconut-milk-14-oz
  • chickpeas,2,16-ounce cans,rinsed and drained,alwadi-chickpeas
  • salt,,,,mortons-kosher-salt
  • pepper,,,,butchers-10-ground-black-pepper
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Add All

Step three

Wash the mustard greens well—you want to get all the dirt off. You can rinse them leaf by leaf under running water, or soak a bunch in a large bowl of cold water, swishing with your hands. Some people like to make a ritual of this, insisting on seven changes of cold water, one for each day of the week. They use the process of cooking greens to remember the Creation story. In our experience three or four changes of clean cold water will usually do the trick, but the point to remember is this: as long as you find some dirt in the bottom of the bowl, you need another change of water. Once the greens are clean, roll them up loosely and then chop the rolls. The size of the pieces you prefer to have in your soup will determine how you chop. If you want smaller greens pieces in your soup, chop the roll lengthwise and sideways.

Step four

Cook the garlic in the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat for about 1 minute. Then add the pepper flakes, coriander, cardamom, cayenne, and turmeric. Cook for another minute or two. (Toasting the spices opens up their flavor.) Add the greens, sweet potato broth, and coconut milk. Bring to a gentle boil, then add the chickpeas. Lower the heat and simmer until the greens are nice and soft, about 1½ hours.

Step five

Season to taste with salt and pepper before ladling into bowls.