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Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Easiest Dinner Ever AKA Smoky Chickpea and Tomato Soup

Ever wonder what in the world to do with all of that juice on the bottom of the roasting pan after baking a ham?  I say keep it and freeze it up!  It's one of the best things you could have on hand for the tastiest bean soups all season long.  We made ham last month and, since I was craving chickpeas, not to mention a super quick dinner after a stressful week of getting ready for the kids to come back to school, I decided to whip out my trusty ham broth.  Few things make a bigger flavor impact with minimal effort than leftover ham broth.  I say keep the bone and use it to make a stock or throw it into beans, cabbage, or greens too.  Works like a charm each and every time!  Since I also stock up on red, yellow, and orange bell peppers when they are on sale, quarter them, and freeze them too, this recipe was a breeze.  Cuban-inspired, but done to my tastes, you and your family are sure to enjoy this dish with my favorite legume--chickpeas!  So here it is, a quick and  easy, hearty recipe for protein-packed chickpea and tomato soup.  It's so easy, your kids can cook dinner for you for a change ;)!

Smoky Chickpea and Tomato Soup

1/2c – 3/4 c dried chickpeas, soaked overnight with ½ tsp baking soda and drained
Mixed bell peppers (mixed red, orange, and yellow bell peppers, equiv. of 1 whole pepper), in quarters
½ large white onion, in quarters
1 can spicy red pepper diced tomatoes
4 cloves garlic, minced
About 1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1 bay leaf
Black pepper to taste
1-1/2 c Seasoned homemade ham broth, already brought to a rolling boil in a separate pot (do not use packet, use a ham bone and water)*

*Add more or less broth to your taste for a thicker or thinner soup
**My ham broth was seasoned very well, so I didn't need any salt.

Spice Things Up!
If you want to switch it up a bit, try adding in bite-sized beef or lamb chunks, or even potatoes, yuuuuum!

1. Stir together all ingredients and allow to cook on low for about 5 hours, or until the chickpeas are tender, not mushy or falling apart.

2. Remove bay leaf.  You may wish to remove the onion and bell pepper as well, leave it in, or puree it and add it back to the soup.  Whatever you choose, serve with steamed white rice and enjoy!

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