Friday, April 15, 2016

Garbanzo Bean and Ham Soup

     Spanish Style Garbanzo Bean Soup!   
     Garbanzo beans and ham go well together.  Needless to say, the better the ham, the better a garbanzo bean soup will taste.  In Spain there are many great varieties of ham that are perfect for flavoring a garbanzo soup.  In America it is difficult to get ham from Spain, but artisan crafted Spanish style ham is available in some regions of this country.  If no Spanish ham is available, then a cured aged Virginia ham is a good option.  
     There are no tricky cooking techniques involved with today's recipe.  This is just an old fashioned Spanish style soup that is simmered in one pot, just like a potage.
     Cooked dried garbanzo beans are best for this recipe, but canned garbanzo beans are a nice convenience.  Patience is a virtue when simmering garbanzo beans till they are very tender.  A pressure cooker can speed up the process.    
     Garbanzo Bean and Ham Soup: 
     This recipe yields 2 large bowls of soup.  (About 4 1/2 cups)   
     Step 1:  Place 2 cups of rinsed cooked garbanzo beans or rinsed canned garbanzo beans in a mixing bowl.
     Mash half of the garbanzo beans in the bowl.
     Step 2:  Place the prepared garbanzo beans in a large sauce pot.
     Add 3 1/2 cups of vegetable broth.
     Step 3:  Add 6 ounces of ham that is torn into large bite size pieces by hand.  (Ham that is torn by hand adds more character!)
     Step 4:  Add 1/3 cup of diced celery.
     Add 1/3 cup of diced carrot.
     Add 1/3 cup of diced onion.
     Add 1/3 cup of diced green bell pepper.
     Add 2 minced garlic cloves.
     Step 5:  Add 1 pinch of cayenne pepper.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of Spanish Paprika.
     Add 2 pinches of oregano.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of ground anatto.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of cumin.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of coriander.
     Add 1 bay leaf.
     Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.
     Step 6:  Place the pot over medium high heat.
     Bring the liquid to a boil.
     Step 7:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Cover the pot with a lid.
     Gently simmer till the garbanzo beans and vegetables are very tender.  (Be sure to stir the soup occasionally as it simmers.)
     Step 8:  Remove the lid from the pot.
     Simmer and reduce till the soup is a medium thin consistency.  The finished volume should be about 4 1/2 cups.    
     Step 9:  Remove the bay leaf before serving.
     Ladle the soup into a bowl and try to expose a few pieces of ham on the surface of the soup.
     The spices give this soup a nice flavor!

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