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Chickpea and Leek Soup

4-5 leeks
12 ounces / about two cups chickpeas, either soaked overnight and cooked until soft or canned
a couple of cloves of garlic or garlic scapes
4-5 cups of vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan plus extra for garnish
a couple of Tbs butter and a drizzle of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbs chopped fresh thyme
2 Tbs chopped fresh parsley
crispy bacon bits for garnish

Clean and slice the leeks in ringlets. Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed stock pot with the olive oil and add the garlic, thinly sliced or chopped if using scapes. Once they begin to soften, add the leeks. (If you add them both together it will be more difficult to properly cook the garlic as it will get caught up in the leeks.)

Once the leeks are soft and smelling good, add half the broth and the chickpeas. At this point you have to decide how you want to serve the soup - as it is, pureed or semi-puréed. If you have an immersion blender just give the soup a few whizzes until you have a thick broth but about half of the chickpeas are still whole. (Alternatively, you can put half the soup in a blender or food processor and blend.)

Add the rest of the broth and bring to a boil. Add the grated Parmesan, thyme and parsley and taste for salt and pepper. Let it simmer for at least 15-20 minutes.

Serve with shaved or grated fresh Parmesan and bacon bits (optional) and some good crusty bread.

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