Chickpea, Bacon & Chilli Soup

This chickpea, bacon & chilli soup are from the cookbook “The 6 ingredients” by Conrad Gallagher. This is one of my favourites “empty fridge” recipes that requires little preparation (except for the soaking of the chickpeas) and is quickly cooked. Chickpeas are required to put an exact cooking time on as the older they are, the longer they take. However, I always tend to err on the side of caution as there are few things worse than undercooked chickpeas. Of course, you could always opt for the canned variety which does not taste as good, but a much less bother.


Dried chickpeas – 600 grams

Streaky bacon – 200 grams

Olive oil – 3 tbsp

Onion finely chopped – 1 Large

Garlic cloves, finely chopped – 2 Cloves

Chicken stock (preferably home-made) – 2,5 Litres


  1. Place the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover with water. Set aside for 24 hours to soak. Drain the chickpeas and place them in a large pan with enough water to cover.
  2. Bring to the boil and boil vigorously for 10 minutes, then drain and rinse under cold water – this will eliminate any toxins that they may have. Remove the rind from the bacon and cut the piece in half, then cut the half into strips and leave the rest in one whole piece; set aside.
  3. Return the pan to the heat and add two tablespoons of olive oil, then tip in the onion, garlic and chilli and sweat for about 5 minutes until slightly coloured, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the drained chickpeas and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring.  Pour in the stock and add the whole piece of bacon, then bring to the boil.
  5. Reduce the heat and simmer gently until the chickpeas are tender – this can take anything from 1 ½ – 3 hours, depending on how old the chickpeas are.
  6. Remove the piece of bacon from the chickpea mixture and discard, then puree the soup with a hand-held blender until completely smooth. Season to taste and keep warm.
  7. Heat the frying pan and add the remaining olive oil. Tip in the reserved bacon strips and cook over a fairly high heat for 2 – 3 minutes or until golden-brown.
  8. Drain on kitchen paper. Ladle the soup into warmed wide-rimmed bowls and scatter the bacon on top. Serve immediately.
  9. The recipe serves 4 people.

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