Potato and Chic Pea Stew with Chipotle

Potato and Chic Pea Stew with Chipotle from soupandsong.blogspot.com

1 - 2 T. olive oil
1/2 cup thinly sliced leeks
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup carrots - 3/4 cup of them sliced, 1/4 cup of them finely diced
1 celery stalk, finely diced
2 1/2 cups yellow finn or creamer potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch dice
2 T. tomato paste
2 cups chic peas
4 cups chic pea stock, water or vegetable stock
1 t. Mexican oregano
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, finely diced

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a medium-sized soup pot, and add the leeks.  Saute' for five minutes or so, and add the 1/4 cup finely diced carrots, the celery and the garlic, along with a generous pinch of salt, to create the soup base.  Cook over medium heat for about ten minutes or so, stirring frequently, until everything starts to become nicely golden.   At this point, if you wish, you can deglaze the pan with a little splash of sherry or white wine or stock.

Next, stir in the two tablespoons of tomato paste, and then add the two cups of chic peas, and the four cups of liquid.  Since I had just cooked my chic peas from scratch, I used a combination of chic pea stock and water.  If you're using straight water, you may need to add a little more salt, so adjust accordingly.

Add the potatoes and the carrot slices, plus the oregano and chipotle pepper.  You could surely add more chipotle pepper if you'd like, but I think it's a good idea to start sparingly and work your way up.  Bring it all to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, cover partially, and cook for another fifteen to twenty minutes, or until the potatoes and carrots are nicely tender.  Taste it, and add a little more salt if you feel so inclined.

Since I like this dish to have a more stew-like consistency, I used my immersion blender to puree half the soup, but you could enjoy it as-is if you don't feel like taking that extra step.

If you're feeling extra inspired, you could garnish this stew w/ a squeeze of lime, a few cilantro slivers, and a crumbling of cotija cheese.