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Chickpea Stew (Potaje de Garbanzos)     
by Cuban Chef

Potaje de Garbanzos               Serves: 6  

Notes: This "potaje" is heartier than soup but lighter than stew

Directions:

Soak chickpeas in water with a pinch of baking soda overnight, about 10-12 hours.  Drain and rinse well.
 
In a large heavy pot, pour 6 cups of hot water over chickpeas.  Bring to a boil then lower heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until just tender, about 30 minutes.  Drain and reserve 2-3 cups of the cooking water.
 
Using a mortar and pestle or garlic press, mash the garlic cloves with salt and pepper to form a smooth paste.  Set aside. To make the sofrito, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. 

Add the onions and peppers and sauté about 5 minutes until soft. Add the mashed garlic and sauté an additional 2 minutes. Add the chorizo and cubed ham and sauté until lightly browned, 2-3 minutes.
Add the tomato sauce, wine and bay leaf to the sofrito and simmer an additional 5 minutes.
 
Return chickpeas to the large pot with 2 cups of the reserved cooking water, add more if needed.  Add the potatoes and sofrito mixture to the chickpeas. Bring to a simmer and cook, covered, until the potatoes are tender, about 20-25 minutes. Once the vegetables are cooked through, the desired consistency is a matter of taste. It can be served immediately as soup or allowed to cook a little longer, uncovered, for a thicker stew, about 15 minutes. Serve on its own with bread or over rice.

Ingredients:

 1 pound dried chickpeas
 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
 1 large yellow onion, diced
 1 large green bell pepper, diced
 3 garlic cloves, peeled
 1 teaspoon salt
 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
 2 Spanish-style chorizos (about 1/2 pound) with the skin removed and cut into 1/4-inch rounds
 1/4 pound smoked ham, cubed
 3/4 cup tomato sauce
 1/4 cup dry white wine
 1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika (labeled pimentón)
 1 bay leaf
 1 pound of russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
 Optional add-ins to be added with potatoes: malanga, carrots, shredded cabbage


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