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Man-Food Watch™: Chick peas not just for hummus

Man-Food Watch™ is a series of recipes for armchair tailgaters who want to raise their game when it comes TV sports and eating. Impress the guys with food that’s hearty, flavorful, easy to make and usually inexpensive.

To celebrate National Soup Month, read on for one of Your Examiner’s favorite soup recipes that uses garbanzo beans (chick peas) in a way that hummus lovers never imagined.
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The recent deep freeze is in its own way propitious.

What better weather for National Soup Month?

Read on for one of Your Examiner’s favorite recipes that uses garbanzo beans (chick peas) in a way that hummus lovers never imagined.

Leverage the Soup Advantage

Here’s the thing about soup – it’s whole food.

Actually, it’s a whole system of whole foods that packs all the nutrients of the constituent ingredients into one pot to make a hot, portable meal that lasts for days in the fridge and freezes for months.

Almost anything you throw in a pot and cover with water can be a soup.

Your taste and appetite determine the ingredients.

In general a soup consists of a protein – meat, cheese or seafood – vegetables and legumes – and seasonings – salt, pepper, herbs and spices – and liquid – water, prepared stock or juice, etc.

Although you can sauté ingredients prior to adding liquid, you don’t have to.

And when you taste the soup and the ingredients are cooked to your satisfaction, then you’ve finished your soup.

Soup is runny. How’s it portable?

How many people do you know who would rather die than go without their thermos of coffee for their commute?

Fill the thermos with soup instead, and you see what I mean.

And you can have your cake and it eat, too.

Disposable food containers are cheap.

Freeze your soup in one and take it with you for lunch, so your thermos stays empty for coffee.

Very healthy.

Whole foods in general are very healthy because all of the nutrition the food ends up on your plate.

So when you throw a bunch of stuff in your soup pot and and cook it together, all of the nutrients from all of the ingredients infuse throughout the whole soup.

In addition, most soups are low in fat and high in fiber, so you can eat more for the same colric intake, be much better hydrated and still maintain your weight and even lose some.

As we’ve been told for decades, nutrition is additive.

Very economical.

Soups are so economical for many reasons, not just because, especially with meat-based soups, you can start with cheaper cuts that tend to be tough because most soups simmer for at least an hour. (Nice juicy tender meat makes for stunningly good stock.)

When you plan to make soup, you can almost always take advantage of the weekly specials.

Usually whatever is on sale will make a perfectly lovely soup.

The bigger your soup pot is, the more you save.

Prepping ingredients is much easier if you don’t have to store the leftovers.

So chop, slice and dice to your heart’s content.

And homemade soup always saves you money at the lunch counter.

Frozen into individual portions, you can enjoy your favorite soups for lunch or snack with no fuss.

In fact, you may be able to make all your lunches for a whole month on a Saturday afternoon with three big pots and ingredients for three different soups.

Your containers are imminently tradable, too, so that you and the guy with the PBJ can swap occasionally for a change of pace.

GJE’s Garbanzo Bean Soup

So, finally, here’s a recipe for soup to celebrate National Soup Month with, that warn the cockles of you heart.

It’s hearty and flavorful and – a real boon for cold weather – there’s no dairy in it to clog up your already grossly offended sinuses.

Ingredients

  • 2 cans garbanzos (chick peas) with liquid, 28 oz.
  • 8 oz. pepperoni, stick if you can find, diced
  • 8 baking potatoes, skins on, diced
  • 1 large yellow onion, about 1 pound, diced
  • 2-4 bay leaves, fresh if you have them
  • 2-4 cloves of fresh garlic, crushed and minced
  • 10–12 black peppercorns, whole
  • 8 cups water or chicken stock
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Ground safflower powder or saffron 8–12 threads
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin oil olive
  • Fresh cracked black pepper to taste to garnish

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Add the garlic and onion to your soup pot and cook in olive oil and cook until translucent.
  2. Dice the potatoes one at a time, very fine, so that they cook and incorporate into the stock of the soup very quickly.
  3. Add the potatoes to the pot as you finish dicing each one, then add water to cover.
  4. Add salt, bay leaf, peppercorns and bring to a simmer, then taste often to adjust seasoning to your liking.
  5. Once you’ve added all the potatoes and liquid, add the chick peas and the liquid from the cans.
  6. Add the pepperonim and bring to a slow boil.
  7. Once the soup starts to boil, add the safflower powder to turn stock medium yellow.
  8. As soon as the stock thickens – about 15 minutes – reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes to one hour. A rule of thumb is that the longer a soup cooks, then better it is.
  9. Add more liquid as necessary to keep from the soup from getting sticky.
  10. Stir often to keep the potato from scorching, but try to preserve the shape and texture of the garbanzo beans for contrast.

What you’ll end up with is soup with a texture like cream of potato soup. Your guests will swear you used cream or half-and-half.

Garbanzo bean soup is perfect for serving in a bread bowl or with a salad and maybe crouton.

Need a lighter variation?

For a Cuban version of the same soup, substitute chorizo or linguiça – Portuguese sausage – for the pepperoni and leave out the potato.

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OFFICIAL BIO: K Truitt is a second-generation, native Floridian born in Jacksonville. Truitt worked in public higher education for 25 years and knows newspaper publishing, printing and graphic design. Contact: kt.4examiner@yahoo.com