My Grandmas’ Garbanzo Bean Soup

Minestra del Ceci delle Mie Due Nonne

Minestra del Cece 2*     *     *

Every year, just before Christmas Eve, I’ve shared a recipe for seafood, often mentioning the Feast of the Seven Fishes when doing so. To that end, next week’s post will feature another such dish. (See Coming soon to a monitor near you.) Not all Italian families, however, prepare a feast on Christmas Eve. We certainly didn’t when I was very young. My family’s tradition of enjoying a seafood feast didn’t start until a few years later, when Dad would leave the restaurant early, bringing the seafood with him. Prior to that time, our Christmas Eve dinner was nothing special, although always meatless because, being Catholic, meat was not allowed. “Upstairs”, in Zia’s home, baccalà was the main course, with “Nonna”, also, serving today’s soup, garbanzo bean.

Whether you call them garbanzos, chickpeas, or ceci, this bean is a good one to have in your pantry. Very low in fat and high in protein, garbanzos are becoming more popular as gluten-free and vegetarian diets become more common. Most readily available dried or in cans, garbanzos can be used in any number of ways and, when ground, the resulting flour is a viable substitute for gluten flours. In a country where meat was reserved for special occasions, garbanzos were one of several beans Italians used to supply protein to their diets.

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Today’s soup was 1 of the 4 dishes that I prepared for Zia during my last visit. To be honest, she was the dish’s mastermind and I her dutiful sous chef. As you’ll soon see, mine was an easy job. At some point she mentioned that “Grandma”, Mom and Zia’s Mother, also cooked garbanzo bean soup and in the same way as did her Mother-in-Law, “Nonna”. This recipe is a gift from both women, “due nonne“. I’m not certain, however, if this soup is a traditional Marchigiani dish. Yes, both women were from Marche but this soup is quite basic and could very well have originated anywhere in Italy — if not somewhere else. (Perhaps our friend and expert of all things Marchigiani, Mariano Pallottini, will be able to shed some light on this for us.)

As is the case with most of the Bartolini recipes from back in the day, this soup is simple to prepare and relies on a few, commonplace ingredients. As you can imagine, the most important thing you’ll put in your stockpot, therefore, is the stock itself. Here, because the soup was served on Christmas Eve, a day when Catholics were forbidden to eat meat, a vegetable stock is used. Feel free to use whatever type of stock you prefer, though you’ll want to use a rich, full-flavored stock for a soup you’ll be serving on so special a night.

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Minestra di Ceci*     *     *

My Grandmas’ Garbanzo Bean Soup Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dried garbanzo beans/chickpeas, inspected to remove stones and the like (see Notes)
  • 2 quarts vegetable stock (see Notes)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • grated Pecorino Romano cheese for serving – omit if vegan

Directions

  1. At least 8 hours or the night before, place the beans in a large bowl and cover with water that is at least 2 inches above the beans. Before use, pour off the water, rinse, and set aside to drain. Do not allow to dry out.
  2. Heat the oil and butter in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over med-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent — about 5 minutes. Do not allow it to brown. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  3. Add the stock and chickpeas to the pot and stir. Bring to a boil before reducing to a simmer.
  4. Continue to simmer until the beans are as tender as you like. (See Notes)
  5. Check for seasoning before serving with plenty of grated cheese at the table. (Omit or use soy cheese if vegan.)

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Garbanzo Bean Soup*     *     *

Notes

The homemade stock used here was prepared using vegetable odds & ends that I’d been keeping in my freezer. The ingredient list will vary each time the stock is made.

  1. In a large stockpot over med-high heat, add 2 tbsp each of butter and olive oil.
  2. When hot, add broccoli stems, cauliflower cores, carrot peelings, and asparagus stalk trimmings, as well as a quartered large onion, 3 roughly chopped carrots, 3 roughly chopped celery stalks (leaves included), and a few cloves of smashed garlic. Sauté until the vegetables begin to color.
  3. Add a handful of parsley, a quartered tomato (“for color”), and 1 bay leaf before adding enough water to fill the pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
  4. Continue to cook for at 2 hours, allowing the stock to reduce and the flavors to intensify. Occasionally skim the stock of the film that may coat the its surface. If the stock reduces too much, add water to compensate.
  5. Season with salt and pepper if you intend to use the stock to make vegetable soup. If the stock is to be used in other recipes, best to leave it salt-free and season it when used.
  6. Once cooled, refrigerate for no more than a few days or store, frozen, for up to 1 month.

When using dry beans, you must take a few minutes to inspect them, looking for small stones and/or beans that are discolored or otherwise spoilt. Discard them.

We’ve found that 1 cup (200 g) of dried beans per quart (950 ml) of stock will yield a soup with just the right “beans to stock ratio” in every bowl. You may wish to add more or less stock to suit your own tastes.

Cooking times will depend upon the type of bean — canned or dried — that you use.

  • If dried, the longer they are allowed to soak, the less time needed to cook. Even so, they will take at least 60 minutes — more like 90 — to cook fully.
  • If canned, rinse before using and they should be ready to eat once they are heated through. Taste before serving to ensure that they meet your preferences.

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It’s déjà vu all over again …

 Eel in the Style of Le MarcheNo listing of traditional Italian dishes served on Christmas Eve would be complete without mentioning eel. Yes, eel. Served on Christmas Eve almost exclusively, live anguille, eels, can be found in tanks at the largest and best-equipped Italian markets beginning around December 15th.  You can learn how my family prepared the slippery devils by clicking HERE.

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Coming soon to a monitor near you …

Squid Ink Pasta PreviewSquid Ink Pasta with Clams and Bottarga

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126 thoughts on “My Grandmas’ Garbanzo Bean Soup

    • Merry Christmas to you, too, Tish. Most of my family’s recipes are like this one, simple, straight-forward, with no more than 5 ingredients. In fact, if there are more ingredient than fingers on one hand, something is wrong. I’ve learned a lot documenting these dishes. A lot!

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  1. Another beautiful dish to tuck away for when the cooler weather comes. I really do find so much inspiration from your posts John – even the little things, such as mentioning that your stock was made using the odds and ends that you’d set aside in the freezer… such a great way of making sure nothing at all is wasted! 🙂
    Looking forward to your squid ink pasta – something I’ve always admired, but never actually tried before. Visually, it’s such a striking dish!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Margot. Being children of the Great Depression, for Mom and Zia, there’s no sin greater than wasting food. Bits and pieces, when combined, make an incredibly flavorful soup. Being so simple, it’s just what this soup needs. The squid ink pasta is very tasty, far better than any I’ve bought in the past. We ate very well that night. 🙂

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  2. I will be making this soup later in the week – I’ve always got stock on the go as it’s so easy to make in my pressure cooker. Similarly, I’ve always liked dry pulses as opposed to tinned, which is why I bought my first pressure cooker years ago. This kind of soup is perfect to give you a boost at lunchtime when it’s cold outside. I had Spanish garlic soup yesterday and it made a huge difference to the rest of the day 😉

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    • Thanks, MD. I made a 2nd potful when I got home and froze it in bow-sized containers. A you mentioned, this makes a perfect lunch. I’ve yet to buy a pressure cooker. I’ve been tempted but I just don’t see the need. Not having to work means that i have the time, usually, to tend to a pot on or in the stove. Still, it sure would be nice to be rid of beans soaking overnight on my counters. Max can only ignore them for so long. 🙂

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  3. Growing up in a French Canadian family, we had feasts on Christmas Eve too. The food was different but equally special. I’d love your grandmother’s garbanzo bean soup. Chickpeas here. 🙂

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    • Those feasts really were special, weren’t they, Maureen? I remember them fondly. I, too, call them chickpeas but Mom called the beans “ceci”. “Garbanzo” was my attempt at compromise. 🙂

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    • Oh, Giovanna, you youngster! You’re too young to know of the ‘no meat’ rules. 😀 Just to be clear, though, Catholics could eat meat on Christmas Day but we couldn’t eat it on Christmas Eve, the last day of Advent. Sorry to have mislead you.

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  4. Oh no! Your pasta dish for next week….that’s going to give the duck ravioli some competition for Christmas Eve!!! What to do, what to do! Perhaps we’ll have some steamed mussels prior to our duck ravioli. That might take care of that craving. 🙂 Your soup looks fantastic. I’m making it next week as well. The kids will enjoy this one. Chickpeas are one veggie I can get them to eat regularly. Glad you posted this one! Looks like this year we’ll have at least two Bartolini recipes for the holidays (possibly more). And I need to make your lasagna again soon. I’ve been craving that too. I was sick last Christmas and didn’t get to properly enjoy it. Don’t get me wrong it was delicious – but I imagine with a clear nose (hopefully – knock on wood) it must be even more spectacular! So much goodness to pick from. Such a problem to have. 😉

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    • I get such a kick knowing that you cook our recipes on Christmas Eve. It’s quite an honor, Kristy, and I do appreciate it. I’ve made this sop again, since returning home, and froze it in single serving containers. It makes a great lunch on a cold day.That pasta is a great dish, too. I’ve just finished writing the post and I was growing more and more hungry by the minute. As you’ll se, it really isn’t all that hard to make, once you find the squid ink. And to that I say, “Eataly!” You’re welcome. 🙂

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      • Well, I think I can manage to swing over to Eataly! 🙂 The decision is final for Christmas Eve though – duck ravioli. I bought the duck yesterday and it’s thawing as I type. I think we’re going for the spinach spin on your pasta dough too to make them green. The kids will enjoy the festive touch. Happy cooking this week and Merry Christmas John!

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        • Oh, you’re going to love the duck ravioli. Zia and I sure did! What a great idea to use green pasta to make them. It is Christmas, after all, a day to pull out all of the stops. I bet that will be one beautiful platter of ravioli, just the type that would have mesmerized me when I was Mr. N’s age.
          I’ve an appointment in the area and will be heading to Eataly next week. I’ll definitely be bringing home cheese and heaven knows what else. As you’ll see on my next post, friends gave me an Eataly gift card. Now that was fun! 🙂
          Merry Christmas, Kristy, to you and your entire Chef Family.

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  5. All summer I made summer stock from the garden.

    Can you imagine how thrilled to bits I am to be making this soup.. and K brought me some fantastic cheese the other week! I am in heaven. Thank you once again for such a simple recipe, i love the ones I can keep in my head! c

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    • You, Celi, are most welcome. You can always tell whether a recipe is one from way back in my family by the number of ingredients. The fewer there are, the older the recipe. I spoke with Zia today and she has yet to receive her shirt and calendar. Drat! I wanted to get her reaction. I hope she’ll receive them tomorrow. 🙂

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  6. This soup looks like classic, Italian cooking at it’s best, John. 🙂 How could a “due nonne” recipe NOT be good! Love how few ingredients are used… I’ll certainly take the “use the BEST stock” available to heart in order to achieve the best possible results! Thank you (and Zia, too) for sharing, yet other, authentic Bartolini kitchens recipe!

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  7. I love garbanzo beans! Such rich flavor. But I’ve always pureed them when I’ve made soup. I don’t know why, but next time I’ll leave them whole like you did. They look gorgeous! This is a winner — thanks.

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    • Hey, John. I don’t think pureeing anything was a possibility back then and I cannot see either Nonna smashing them up — unless Nonno was missing all of his teeth. That wasn’t the case or I surely would have heard about it. 🙂

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  8. My dad would always make his chickpea soup! It was one of his favorites to make, simple, delicious and healthy. Makes me want to make a pot tonight. We are having “cooler” weather here so soup sounds really good. Hope you’re enjoying a wonderful holiday season John.

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    • Hey, Linda! Once again, our families’ traditions mirror each other. This is a good soup, one meant for cool days, though your cool and our cool are 2 entirely different things, as you may recall. 🙂
      My holidays are going quite well and I wish the same for you and yours, Linda. I can almost smell the cookie aromas coming from your kitchen. 😀

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  9. This soup makes me think of my maternal grandmother’s chickpea soup – which was almost identical, with the exception of adding diced peeled eggplant to it.
    As my ancestors came to Izmir via Livorno (originally they came from Spain) – it looks like they took this Italian soup and adapted it into the Greek/Turkish cuisine of Izmir.
    I make the chickpea/eggplant soup often, though have to admit that I “cheat” and use canned chickpeas… I really need to make it more in this traditional way. Next time… 🙂

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  10. Beautiful – we eat a lot of chick peas, in fact we bought over a small sack of them from a pal in Spain who grows them and I’ve been saving the last few handfuls for Christmas to make something special like this. Simple it may be, but full of flavour and oh so good! What a lovely memory from Zia that both her mother and mother in law made this soup.

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    • Thanks, Tanya. That’s one of the benefits of this blog. We talk about recipes and it trigger memories for the 2 of us. More than a few times, I’ve mentioned a future post and she’ll recall that her Mother made something similar. I’ve learned a great deal about my family as a result and I doubt I would have otherwise.

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    • Thanks, Angeline. This soup is ridiculously easy to prepare and I wondered if maybe we’d forgotten something. One taste, though, and it was obvious we were right on the money. I’l be making this far more often. Well, anything better than once in the last 40 years would be a vast improvement. 🙂

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  11. Such a beautiful, simple soup, John, but I bet the flavour is wonderful.I love garbanzo beans and use them often in all kinds of cooking and soups. They have such a lovely flavour. Of course, I’m partial to a bit of hummus as well.
    I’m a bit more picky when it comes to eels though, in that, I don’t like them. They taste even fishier than fish to me!
    Hope you’re having enjoying the holiday season, wishing you all best!!

    Nazneen

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Nazneen. I was somewhat surprised to see how flavorful this soup was. I just didn’t expect it. I really should know better, though, by this time. These old recipes usually have the fewest ingredients possible yet all are packed with flavor. When will i learn? The eel are a different story completely. I didn’t find them too fishy — I think the tomato sauce played a role there — but cleaning them was another thing. They were as slippery as slippery can be and I had a devil of a time skinning and chopping them. When I was finished, I consider myself lucky to have the same 10 fingers — attached!!! — as when I started. 🙂

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  12. What a nice simple recipe, and so carefully explained. I had never heard of garbanzo before, but know them as chickpeas or indeed ceci. I noticed that in Italy ceci and seafood are often combined. Interesting that you use broccoli and cauliflower for the stock, as that is usually adviced against. So much, that I’ve never even tried it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, Stefan. I’ve never thought not to use broccoli or cauliflower, then again, I’m not using all that much and not all of the time. I put just about all of my vegetable scraps in a bag in the freezer and dump them into the stock pot for my vegetable stock. I need to pay more attention next time to determine their impact on my stock. Thanks for the info.

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    • Thank you. We really do enjoy our time in the kitchen together, with ravioli day a favorite. Together, we can really knock them out. You’re right about the eel. Yes, I prepared them but I won’t be doing it again anytime soon. Far too slippery for me. 🙂

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    • Thanks, Amanda. Since my return home, I made another pot and have been enjoying it for lunch. That spot of Pecorino works perfectly. Do give it a try sometime, You won’t be disappointed. 🙂

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    • Just recently, I was served a few, roasted, as a garnish and I really enjoyed them. I’ve been telling myself to make them and understand how one could devour them. I’ve a feeling that I certainly would.

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  13. I remember our Christmas Eve dinners also being fairly simple as we were preparing ourselves for the next day’s feast. I can’t remember if they were meatless though but we were Methodists rather than Catholics and probably followed a different set of customs. What a simple soup that would be so warming on your cold Chicago nights. As my family gathers together on Christmas Day, I try to put on a Christmas Eve dinner for the five of us. Well…this year the numbers have been stealthily increasing as we bring in the lonely and those traveling from England with their only other option being sitting alone at the Youth Hostel. I’m ‘enlarging my tent’, John! I’m serving a glazed and baked leg of ham with salad and potatoes and if I get a chance, there’ll even be dessert xx

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    • Hi, Charley. The seafood feast is pretty much an Italian custom. Most Catholics, I believe, tended to eat quite a bit more simply. Today’s soup would have been something they might have served. Your Christmas Eve private, family dinner was a good plan but how nice that you’ll be opening your home to some who’ve no where else to go. If I recall, you’ve baked a leg of ham before and posted pics. Regardless, it sounds like a fantastic centerpiece for your feast. Your family and guests are going to love it, I’m sure.

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  14. Lovely tasty soup which will certainly appear on the table in the next few weeks: depends largely on the quality of the stock, methinks! My birth country being in the NE of Europe, Christmas Eve is still the main time for a family to celebrate: Black pudding, blood pancakes [do look up Google!], crispy pork, sauerkraut and goose. Spice cookies to finish!! On Christmas Day ‘important’ friends tended to be invited for a very formal lunch and Boxing Day saw the ‘less important’ ones 🙂 !! Sorry if I am smiling – haven’t quite followed these ‘rules’ awhile . . . Deeming myself to be a Buddhist I guess wine and meat protein do not quite fit the bill either – back to your soup 😀 !!

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    • Hello, Eha. You are so right. This soup depends upon the stock used, although adding a bit of chopped onion into the pot certainly doesn’t hurt. My family’s customs changed, too, over the years. After the “simple” dinners, we entered the seafood feast years. That meal was served earlier, as Dad’s hours changed. Soon, I was inviting friends over. Living on the same block as our church, people who parked their cars on our street either went right, to the church for midnight mass, or left, to my house for drinks and snacks. I don’t think the church drew away any of my guests but I know we managed to pilfer a few of the faithful. 🙂

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      • Talking of the ‘seven fishes’ must send you a recipe with a fabulous sweet-sour eel dish somewhat Eastern style which I actually got from a half-Italian blogfriend. She fuses it with the totally Italian dishes for the season . . . Have a wonderful Christmas and see you end of January . . .

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  15. I’m still battling the respiratory lurgy that’s lingered for 3+ weeks, and I just know a simple nourishing soup like this would make me feel better 🙂 It also sounds wonderful for cool climate Christmas Eve, but will probably end up on our menu next winter.

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    • Sorry you’re still unwell, EllaDee. 3+ weeks is long enough. It’s time for that bug to find another home. I hope it does before Christmas. I made a 2nd pot of this soup upon my return home and have been enjoying a bowl at lunchtime on our coldest days. It’s really good. You’ll see when your seasons change. 🙂

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  16. This soup is a masterpiece of simplicity, John. We are so used to tricked out recipes these days, with a myriad of global ingredients, that the old traditional recipes look minimalist by contrast. I’m writing soon about my mother’s meatballs, which are made up of meat and not a whole lot else. Yet, like your soup, they’re delicious and the stuff of which memories are made.

    I also have to say that your stock looks like a masterpiece. To get that depth of colour, and therefore also flavour, from a vegetable stock … well I stand humbled before you! Looking forward to trying your recipe.

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    • Hello, Mar, and thank you. If you want to spend an entertaining half-hour, when Zia swims to your side of the Lake, watch a cooking show with her, one that features an Italian chef. Once s/he starts adding a half-dozen spices and herbs, Zia gets irritated. This was not at all like she was taught and she had never heard of most of them. Having taste her cooking — not just this soup — I would have to agree with her. Less is more. 🙂

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    • Thank you, Maria. You’re right about the stock. This soup’s success is entirely dependent upon the stock. Now that there are no meat restrictions, we make this soup with chicken stock, as well as with vegetable. I have to say, it’s good either way.

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  17. I will definitely be making this soup! I absolutely love garbanzos and have dried ones in the pantry at all times. Brilliant idea about freezing the veg for stock. I do it with chicken or beef bones but usually compost veggies. Why did I never think of this?!

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    • Thank you so much. If I were composting my scraps, I doubt if I’d be freezing them. They do ad a great deal of flavor, though, to any stock that I make and with them on hand, I can make a stock anytime without making a run to the store. That saves me quite a bit of money because I run to the grocery for 2 items and leave with 2 full bags. 🙂

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  18. A clever top photo! I went to Catholic school for 5 years and did not know about ‘no meat’ on Christmas Eve. I knew about ‘no meat, only fish on Fridays’, (which I heard it is not the case anymore, am i right?) A delicious warming soup for the cold time of the year. I am so looking forward to your squid ink pasta, which is big in Japan, and I love it too.

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    • Hello, Fae. You’re right. Catholics are no longer required to abstain from eating meat on Fridays and Christmas Eve. Now, the only 2 days of abstinence are Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. The squid ink pasta recipe has been written and is in the queue. Stay tuned … 🙂

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  19. Even though it is only 8:23 in the morning, I’m finding myself licking my lips at the thought of this tasty soup. I don’t know if you know this about me, but I absolutely adore broth based soups (creamed soups are OK, but broth based are my favourites!). And who doesn’t love chick peas? I know I do. Over the last few years we’ve used only dried chick peas as the canned variety are usually too salty and tin-tasting. Also, if you allow them to sprout (soak, rinse, soak over a few days) they become much easier to digest (I learned that from Norma https://gardentowok.wordpress.com/). It must be true because I suffer much less from the aftermath from a bean intensive dinner.
    I wonder how I will work this tasty dish into our festivities and even if I am unable, I’ll definitely put it on the list for after the holidays as it sounds like a soup to get us back on track for eating for health rather than girth!

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    • Hello, Eva. I very often feel the same way when I leave your site. This series of vegetarian appetizers that you’ve posted is a case in point. I remember Norma’s post detailing the sprouting of beans, though I’ve yet to try it. I should, though. I do love this soup. I left Zia with a few containers in her freezer and made another potful when I got home and I now have containers in my freezer. A bowl makes a great lunch on a cold day.

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  20. Oh boy, that vegetable stock sounds (and looks) delicious. I make chicken stock all the time, but have never tried vegetable stock. This is yet another “new” thing you’ve inspired me to try.

    Happy Holidays to you and yours! Hope you have a wonderful festive season. 🙂

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    • Vegetable stock is a handy thing to have around, Ruth. I keep a couple of small containers in my freezer and use it to boost the flavor of a number of sauces and braises. Using scraps, it’s also pretty cheap to make.
      I hope you and all whom you hold dear share a fantastic holiday season, Ruth.

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  21. Oh yes, yum, and yum some more. Last night I started reading a cookbook written in the late 14th Century (with modern typeface and loads of annotations). The second recipe greatly resembles this one, namely beans and chopped onion in a good-quality broth (benes with gode broth an oynouns grete mynced). Your grandmas knew a classic dish when they saw one!

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    • Now that sounds like a great cookbook to have. Simple recipes like this one make me wonder whether today’s “chefs” are more interested in impressing us by using exotic spices and ingredients — “Today, i used pickled pheasant tongue …” — instead of just cooking good food. Less is more.

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  22. Would love a bowl of this soup right now! Love the simplicity of this and you can just tell how comforting it is from the photo. Looking forward to the fish recipe. We are lucky enough to be invited to a friend who does the traditional Seven Fishes meal – counting the days!

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    • I bet you’re counting the days! I’d have stopped rating last Friday to make sure I could take full advantage. I am sooo jealous! How nice of him/her to include your family at their table. I’m sure you’ll have a memorable experience.
      Buon appetito!

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    • Thanks, Conor. This is certainly the time of year when it seems like my stockpot is a permanent resident of my stove top. The soups are great but I also like the effect a simmering stock has on my kitchen. So warm and comforting.
      Wishing you and your lovely family the best of Christmases, Conor.

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  23. Zia’s soup sounds perfect for the weather we are having. Nourishing is right, for the soul. Your photos are great, especially the first. Just great, John.
    Thanks for taking time to write comments that make my followers laugh out loud. Your comments have a following!
    Wishing you a wonderful Christmas season. Looks like folks receiving any card from me will notice a 2015 postmark. Uh-oh. Two more days of school and then a nice long break.
    All the best to you. xxoo
    Ruth

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    • Thanks, Ruth. You never fail to be encouraging of my photographic efforts and it means a lot. I do enjoy visiting your site. You’e a great group of followers but it’s your photography that draws us all. As I’ve said, you’ve got “the eye.”
      I hope you and your wonderful family share a very special Christmas together, Ruth. All the best to you all in the New Year!

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  24. What a lovely and refreshingly light soup this is. We have tons of garbanzo beans on hand in our pantry now that my daughter is trying to eat less meat for her fitness regime. I have to say that I am enjoying more meatless dinners, they leave you feeling quite satisfied but without that overly full feeling. I’ll make this for her as a surprise, as we’ve not thought they could be made into a soup. I’m wondering if there’s a big difference in quality between canned and fresh dried garbanzo flavour? To date, we’ve only used tinned and rinsed them to get any residue off. But then they also have those little “jackets” we try to get off. If I don’t get back here again before Christmas (but I’m certain I will) I wanted to wish you an early very Merry Christmas to you, Max, Zia and everyone in your family and all your friends!! xx

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    • Hello, Barb, and thank you. I don’t use enough beans to know whether there is an appreciable difference between canned or dried. Eva in a previous comment feels that tinned are more salty and tin-tasting. Since I no longer have cats — they used to play with the soaking beans — I never buy canned anymore. I “went” vegetarian on year and, as you said, felt far less bloated after a meal. If only I could have stopped craving meat, I might have stuck with it. Still, I try to incorporate the occasional meatless day and I like how I feel and the challenge of finding good, easy to prepare, vegetarian dishes.
      Thanks, too, for the holiday wishes, Barb, and I hope that you and your lovely family share a most memorable Christmas.

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  25. I am so delighted with this soup, John. I always have dried garbanzos in my pantry and we eat fresh hummus and a few vegetarian dishes that rely on them. Recently some of the better restaurants have been serving a roasted garbanzo that is prepared much the way you’d prepare freshly baked croutons, and then they’re thrown into a salad for an interesting crunch. But I’ve never even considered a garbanzo bean soup and I’m really thrilled. I smiled to think that has been a family favorite for generations and is an Italian family “regular,” and I could easily see this in a trendy California restaurant introduced as something “current” and fashionably vegetarian. And I would never have known it had deep roots to the past. I certainly want to wish you a very happy Christmas and a very peace-filled and healthy new year.

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    • Hello, Debra, and thank you. I’m very pleased that you like this post I must say that I’d no idea there were so many garbanzos in pantries. Many have stated that they, too, keep dried garbanzos on hand. My Grandma’ soup struck a chord. 🙂
      I’m, also, a bir surprised to learn that a garbanzo soup is new to so many. It was such an integral part of my youth that I never thought it wasn’t popular elsewhere, especially today, when so many are following a vegetarian lifestyle. The truth is that I almost didn’t post the recipe, thinking it too simple to share. Was I wrong!
      I hope you and yours share a wonderful Christmas, Debra, and much peace and joy to you in the New Year.

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    • Funny thing, kay. I almost skipped it, thinking it too simple to post — and then I made a batch. That was the deciding factor. It’s that god. A blogging friend has already made it and she and her family love it. C’mon, your turn. 🙂

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  26. I have always love the rich nutty flavor and texture of garbanzo beans and your soup looks perfect for your Christmas Eve. Our children are getting all jittery as tomorrow is the big day here in Finland and Santa Claus will be arriving! Merry Christmas to you and yours!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Boys Upstairs are now teenagers but, when they were quite young,starting in mid-December, I would hear them get out of bed each morning and run around their flat until bedtime at night. They were so excited that Santa was coming. It was so cute. They grow up too fast!
      I hope you and your family enjoy this Christmas and the mayhem that is sure to come. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  27. What a great looking soup. I love chickpeas but rarely use them for anything other than houmous; I’ll have ot beocme more adventurous!

    I’m looking forward to the seafood dish. It’s so nice to have these traditions, no matter how they were formed or how old or new they are. Like you we often have fish on Christmas Eve, or something very light like eggs, but not usually anything meaty. Saving up for the hams and turkeys!

    Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Our Christmas Eves evolved as we kids grew. Early on, the dinners were quite simple, like this soup. They became more and more elaborate, with seafood playing a bigger role as we grew. Dad’s hours at the restaurant surely had something to do with it, as well. He came home earlier and earlier that night. At one point at the end of my high school years, we held a big party after midnight. Then, things quieted down as we kids moved out. Christmas Eve had come full circle.
      Part of the joy of this blog has been rediscovering these recipes and the traditions, if any, behind them. It’s been a real learning experience for me and I now know far more of my family history than I ever did. Who knew? 🙂
      I hope you have a very merry Christmas!

      Liked by 1 person

  28. Pingback: Squid Ink Pasta with Clams and Bottarga | from the Bartolini kitchens

  29. Bonjourno John, I love the simple fresh stock and vegan option over this crazy busy season. I have all the boys home with me and they are eating me out of house and home so a vegan option is good for the wallet this week. Take care

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  30. Dear John: It is already January 3, 2015. I am sooooooooooo behind when it comes to your blog, but thank you for the soup recipe. YUM, YUM, YUM. Then there’s EEL to look forward to. Sigh. I used to live in Crescent City, California for about a dozen years. A dear, dear, friend of mine, a Vietnam vet, used to catch eel along that rugged coast. We would catch crab in the bay, and I would get to eat all the “cream” I wanted to eat because no one wanted them there “gold” in that shell. He would barbeque oysters on his grill, and both of us would pour Tabasco and a squeeze of lemon on them. Then slurp the oysters into our greedy little mouths. He also taught me how to go after abalone in Fort Bragg. Also introduced me to Glass Beach. Anyway, we would search under the boulders for abalone when the tide was low. Others would use scuba equipment and more sophisticated stuff, but the two of us stayed in the water until the tide rose. I finally gave up until the water was at my shoulders. He took the scary way by diving into the water and sticking his hands into the crevices of huge boulders. He actually found several. I got lucky and found one floating right beside me. Anyway, when he gave me eel, it was already cut and frozen. A pale white color. I chopped it into pieces and made sushi. Yeah, I really miss those times and Richard with the thick mop of dark red hair. R.I.P, my dear. And thank you so much for your terrific writing and photographs. When I get my kitchen to my liking, I promise to sit down and savor your recipes. They are a treasure. And so are you. Best wishes to you and yours for a very happy, safe and prosperous ($$$) New Year. God Bless YOU!!! Best always, Arlene

    Liked by 1 person

    • So glad you stopped by, Arlene. I wasn’t feeling at all well during January, though it actually started at the tail-end of December. That’s important because I’d rather blame last year than think that the New Year started off so badly. I’m just now getting around to clearing my blog’s backlog and came across your lovely comment. Oh, how I wish I could have been a guest at one of those seaside barbecues! There is nothing so tasty as dining on freshly caught seafood. Your friend, Richard, sounds like he was a dear friend, may he rest in peace.
      I hope your New Year has been blessed and I look forward to seeing more of you in the weeks to come.

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  31. Happy New Year John
    Vegetarians don’t eat Pecorino Romano? Omg I would hate to be vegetarian. I can’t imagine this soup without the cheese. I love the simplicity and the use of homemade veggie stock. I want to start the new year eating healthy food so thanks, John for sharing your granny’s soup. I shall be slurping and burping some garbanzo soup over the weekend. Have a most wonderful 2015
    Liz

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  32. John, my darling – I just thought of something…. French Canadian’s usually had French Canadian Meat Pies for Christmas Eve (made with pork), along with (possibly) ‘Ragu’ (which is NOT an Italian dish but rather a sauce made from browned flour featuring pigs feet and meatballs made from pork. So – when was it that Catholics couldn’t eat meat on Christmas Eve? I’m wondering if it was more of an Italian tradition. As usual, I’m going to do a bit of research. I can’t wait to make this soup. I’m trying to eat healthy AND I LOVE chickpeas !! And wait a minute my dear friend Liz – vegetarians DO eat cheese but vegans don’t !! ; o ) One last thing – I love the idea of using the ‘waste’ from vegetables to make the broth. It’s a shame that people seem to have lost the concept of that. I honestly believe it’s just because they don’t have the time…. not now-a-days when things are crazy hectic…. esp. when a person has a family !

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  33. Gotta try this new (to me) type of hearty winter night garbanzo soup. Inviting, ‘come dive-in’ type pictures made it impossible for me refrain myself from trying it tonight. We South Asian have versatile use of garbanzo. My fav one goes like: cook beans and diced potato with garlic-onion-salt-pepper-garam masala. Towards the end sprinkle a little flour and toasted cumin dust. Super luscious!
    Many thanks for the recipe. (Grandma’s always make things alright in our screwed-up life, don’t they? ) 🙂

    Like

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