As there is not much to say about revithosoupa, which is a simple dish, before I tell you how I make it, let’s talk a little about the word “Opaaa!!”. I am taking this opportunity because the song which has been voted for the Eurovision song contest is called “OPA”. It’s an ethnic song and although it’s not bad I would have preferred the other ethnic song by Manos Pyrovolakis.
I don’t really care about this contest but the reason I am mentioning this is to explain what the word “OPA” means. I am sure only a few Greeks know the real meaning of the word and it’s not just an exclamation when we dance.
The word Opa derives from the ancient word η οψ, της οπός (pronounced ops genitive case opos), and this does not only mean eyes, vision, appearance etc. Some examples of words known to English speaking people are Cyclops (having one round eye), Europe (having beautiful big eyes), metope (in arch. between two holes (eyes) ) and the same word is used in Greek for the forehead, but also means “voice” as in speaking but also in singing. For those of you speaking Greek, you may find a lot of interesting information here.
All Greek words have a meaning because they are descriptive. One of the nine muses was Kalliopi, Καλλι-όπη (έχουσα καλήν όπα), and her name means “having a good voice” and of course Kalliopi was the patron of anything having to do with the voice and of course poetry.
Now, back to the recipe. Although it’s spring and the weather is supposed to be warm in Greece, March still has some cold days, so I would like to share this simple but hearty chickpea soup, while the weather is still cold.
As I said, although this soup is very simple, with just a few ingredients and has nothing fancy to show in appearance, yet this is what makes Greek cuisine to be delicious getting most of its flavour from the Greek olive oil.
I know that some of you don’t have the time to cook the chickpeas for two hours and although that I don’t use canned chickpeas, I think that the soup will still work great if you used canned chickpeas. However, if you have a pressure cooker, you can reduce the time considerably and have the soup ready in half an hour.
If you want a thicker and more creamy soup add a potato as well, which I have included in the recipe.
I am sending this recipe to Lisa, of Lisa’s Vegeterian Kitchen, for her event No Croutons Required, in which chickpeas are featured this month.
Revithosoupa (Greek Chickpea soup)
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours
- 300 grams chickpeas
- 1 large potato, peeled and cut into small pieces
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 6 cups water
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- Boil the potato in 6 – 7 cups of water until soft. Set aside and when the time comes, remove the potato and mash with a fork. Reserve the water to add to the soup.
- Soak the chickpeas in water from the previous night.
- Drain and peel them. It is preferable to buy skinned chick peas.
- Boil in unsalted water, skim the liquid water and drain once. Add fresh water and boil again. Add salt, lower heat, cover with lid and cook until almost soft, about an hour. Drain and set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and sauté the onion until translucent.
- Add the chickpeas and mix for a couple of minutes. Add the mashed potato as well as the potato water, salt and freshly ground black pepper and bring to a boil.
- Lower heat and simmer for about 1 hour until the chickpeas have become very soft and creamy.
- When ready mix in the lemon juice.
- Serve with additional olive oil and lemon juice, as well as some freshly ground black pepper.
Kopiaste and Kali Orexi!!