And so, October. Most days have been unseasonably warm, but then came the first with cold gray skies and wind that carried that sharp snow smell. It seemed ridiculous to put off the last of the garden clearing any longer. The tomatillos and some of the beans are still putting on, but otherwise the season has ended for another year, and due to the amount of soil damage and powder mildew, winter gardening is being skipped this year.
Final vegetables were picked for seed, each plant was pulled for compost if possible, supports were stacked with like kind and the greenhouse is nearly full now with stored supplies. Raised beds built for rotation have had their frames pulled and stacked and their dirt spread as the rest of the garden was plowed down. I am, however, postponing pulling the remaining flora until first freeze as the hydrangeas, morning glories, and four o’ clocks are still bearing.
By project end, my face was flushed and cheeks cold and the sky was darker, leaves blowing out of the trees in great clusters. Inspired, a soup was in order, but not just any soup. This soup is ideal at the turning of each equinox, tomato heavy and ginger seasoned, it features the warmth of summer, but the chickpeas give it a heartiness ideal for the incoming or outgoing cold. And when you find yourself craving tomatoes at the turning of spring or, as in this case, lamenting the end of their season, this recipe lends itself well to the use of the last year’s canned (or store bought) tomatoes.
CHICKPEA & SPINACH GINGER TOMATO SOUP
Adapted from Serious Eats.
28oz can diced tomatoes
1” knob of ginger, peeled
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
5 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 tsp smoked paprika
6 oz fresh baby spinach
2 14oz cans chickpeas
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons soy sauce
Sea Salt & Fresh Cracked Pepper
Pour half of tomatoes and liquid into a blender and add ginger knob. Blend on high until completely pureed. Set aside. Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan or stew pot over med high heat and add onion, garlic, and paprika. Cook, stirring frequently, until translucent and slightly browned. Add tomato ginger puree and stir to combine. Add spinach a handful at a time, allowing each handful to wilt before adding the next. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add remaining tomatoes, chickpeas with their liquid, bay leaves, and soy sauce, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until thickened, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and drizzle each serving with additional olive oil and a dash of balsamic vinegar.