The calendar tells me it's Spring but you wouldn't really know it by the temperatures outside which are more on the nippy side than normal. On days like today, a bowl of hot, steamy soup makes me feel warm and happy all over. Spring soups tend to be a bit lighter than those you would offer during the winter months--think, less cream, less starch but more brothy bases.
Beans and legumes are often found in Latin and Spanish soups and I love to include them in mine too. If you are among the many home cooks who keep stocks and broths in your freezer, feel free to use whatever you have for this soup. Even though I made mine with chicken stock, you can substitute it with beef or vegetable soup and obtain just as delicious a soup as this one. I have nothing against canned or boxed broths and stocks and in fact keep boxes of ready-made stocks in my pantry at all times in case I run out of my own. My only recommendation is that you try to purchase organic, low-sodium varieties (there are many wonderful brands out there). Not only is buying organic worth every penny--think of the hormones you won't miss in your soup--but also low-sodium brands allow me to add as much or as little salt as I like.
I am a huge fan of sea salt, not only for the natural flavor it imparts but also for it's healthier balance. If you want to learn more about this precious ingredient and all other types of fascinating salts, visit my friend Mark Bitterman's website at www.saltnews.com and discover the wonders of salt. Mark is the Salmelier of The Meadow, a Portland-based salt boutique founded by Mark and his wife, Jennifer. I recently met Mark at a writer's conference and was fascinated by his expertise on the subject.
The broth of my Sopa de Garbanzos is seasoned with delicious tomatoes, wine and a bit of smokiness imparted by a simple addition of hot Spanish paprika and cumin. It takes only 20 minutes to make and is low in fat.
Sopa de Garbanzos
1 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomato with juices (I prefer Muir Glenn organic)
3 1/2 cups organic chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine (such as Chardonnay)
1 1/2 cups cooked garbanzos (chick peas)
1/2 teaspoon hot Spanish paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sel gris or sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons light sour cream or yogurt
1 small jalapeno, seeded, deveined and julienned
In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat; add the onions and saute for 3-4 minutes or until softened. Add the tomatoes, chicken broth, wine, garbanzos, paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper. Bring the soup to a boil; lower the heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. To plate: serve hot onto 4 soup bowls; top each with a dollop of sour cream (or yogurt) and garnish with jalapenos. Yield: 4 servings.
Copyright© Sandra A.Gutierrez, 2008; All Rights Reserved.