In my home, winter chill means Garbanzos... otherwise known as Spanish Bean Soup. Every Cuban/Spanish restaurant in Tampa has a version of this soup. It's a flavor explosion of garbanzo beans, potatoes, chorizo (dried sausage), onions and garlic. It's best eaten with a loaf (can't stop at one piece) of Cuban bread dripping with butter. (Any crusty bread will work...if you cannot find real Cuban bread.)
My mother and grandmother had their own ways of making this soup...and no restaurant version I have ever tasted comes close to their "recipes". Mama's soup was so jam-packed with goodies that it was more like a stew... and she learned this from her mama. Often the soup had to be thinned a bit to stretch it. But it never lost it's flavor. Why thin the soup? Why add the cabbage? Well, my grandmother had 10 children to feed...and my mom had football players and their friends who were always hungry. And me...I had the high school soccer team, the garage band, and a houseful of "lost boys"...at least at dinner time!!! Now please understand...neither of these ladies wrote their recipes down. When I asked Mama to teach me how to make it, she had me stand with her...and showed me, using her hands to measure ingredients. (Now you know where I learned the "by guess and by gosh" method of cooking.) This soup recipe makes a lot... but it freezes well.
Garbanzos (Spanish Bean Soup)
1 pound dried garbanzo beans (chick peas) OR
3 LARGE cans of chick peas
1 medium onion, diced
Garlic to taste (I use 4-5 cloves), peeled and diced
1 meaty ham bone or 2-3 ham hocks with lots of meat
(*or 1/2 lb. ham, cut into bite-sized chunks)
1 pound stew beef, cut into bite-sized pieces
Chorizo Sausage, sliced (I use 2 - 4, depending on their sizes)
2-3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized cubes
Cabbage (I use 1/2 of a small, tightly packed head), sliced really thin!
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Sazon or Vigo seasoning, 2-3 pkgs. (This is a saffron-based tiny
package of seasoning... used for yellow rice and innumerable
Hispanic, Jamaican, Cuban, and Creole dishes.)
Soak garbanzos overnight.Discard water and rinse the "dried" beans.
Set aside (or use canned beans, drained and rinsed.)
In a large soup pot, saute the onions and garlic in a little olive oil, until translucent. Remove from the oil and set aside. In the same oil, brown the beef, adding a little salt and pepper. Set aside. Add the ham bone/hock to the pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until the ham falls off the bone. Remove the bones and ham from the water. Cut ham into bite-sized pieces. To the ham stock, add the ham, beef, onion, garlic, and beans, chorizo and potatoes. Bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer. Add the Sazon...and simmer until the soup thickens. Add salt and pepper to taste. (Add a little corn starch if needed, to thicken.) Add cabbage and cook until the cabbage is softened.
**This broth should be pretty thick and a golden color. This is one of those recipes that gets better, the longer it cooks.
Have a fun-filled weekend... Jane