Friday, December 10, 2010

Garbanzos (Chickpeas)...or Spanish Bean Soup

This is a repost from last winter...the temps have dropped here in FL and I am craving Garbanzos.  Guess what I will be cooking tomorrow....

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" 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)

3 LARGE cans of chick peas (Garbanzos)

1 medium onion, diced

Garlic to taste (I use 4-5 cloves), peeled and diced

Olive Oil

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.)


In a large soup po
t, 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

Be sure to visit Michael Lee at for more Foodie Friday recipes. There's always something good...


Diana said...

your recipe looks so good! I love Chorizo but don't have many recipes that call for it. Now I do, thanks for sharing it and for your kind comment. ~Diana

Kaybe said...

We are making Garbanzo bean soup for New Year's with the ham bone from Christmas. I've never seen it made with cabbage. I might try this version if I can get the fam to break with tradition. I grew up in Tampa Bay so the Hispanic recipes are firmly entrenched in my menu plans. My favorite is Noche Buena - Christmas Eve. Alot of feasting going on in Tampa that night.

Shellbelle said...

This sounds delicious! I love garbanzos! The only thing is I don't eat beef, but looking at the other ingredients I bet I could substitute boneless chicken thighs. Interestingly enough, I saw in your introductions that you wrote chorizo is a dried sausage. I've cooked with plenty of chorizo in my day, but I've never seen it dried. Being the googler that we both are, I commenced my search. Seems your using Spanish Chorizo and I'm used to Mexican Chorizo. Who knew? The Spanish version is made with chopped pork and paprika and is usually smoked. The Mexican version is made with ground pork and chilies and is sold uncooked. Interesting, don't you think? I learn so much from you Jane, now I'm going to be on the look out for Spanish Chorizo and make this meal. Thanks.

Donnie said...

That looks wonderful and I'm sure there is more than a pinch of memories in there too. I'll bookmark this one for sure.

Mary Bergfeld said...

What a wonderful soup for a damp and cold winter day. It really looks and sounds delicious. I hope you are having a great weekend. Blessings...Mary

rjerdee said...

Mmmmmm! Perfect comfort food...when are these winter chills ever going to end? I wanted to impress my family (who will arrive next) with our gorgeous weather...think it's come when they do? If not, I'll be making your soup!!!!

Simple Daisy said... yummy!!!
I was just in the mood for soup:):)
It's blizzarding here and soup sounds just perfect to warm my heart!!

Drawn to The Sea said...

Hmmm. I've got a package of vegetarian chorizo in the fridge that I haven't been brave enough to open. It's a challenge trying to convert recipes... I'm thinking if I used the right spices, this might work with veggie stock. Cabbage is one of my favorite soup ingredients!

Sweet day,

GratefulPrayerThankfulHeart said...

Oh, thank you! I am coping this recipe. It looks delicious! We have a young lady from Spain living with us and I would love to make it for her. (I am learning, though, that many of the the things we associate with Spain, really aren't something that folks from Spain even recognize!)

Either way, I think we will all enjoy it!

Kindly, Lorraine

Unknown said...

Yesss grew up in Tampa love this stuff