Spanish Bean Soup

Friends often come to me for help in streamlining favorite recipes with exhaustive preparations, and this Spanish Bean Soup is the result of my short-cut savvy. What once took several hours to simmer now is prepared in under an hour with little work.

This hearty soup originally called for meaty beef and ham bones, which were simmered for several hours. The meat was picked from the bones, and then the soup preparation continued. I’ve substituted steak and smoked ham for the meaty bones without losing much of the flavor of the original. With a warming bowl of this luscious soup as the centerpiece of your meal, all you’ll need to add are good bread and a salad.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 8 ounces steak or stew beef, cut into1/4-inch pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 packet Sazon Goya con Azafran*
  • 2 quarts cold water
  • 4 red potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 8 ounces smoked ham, diced
  • 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 3 ounces pepperoni, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or large saucepan. Add onion and steak and sauté until steak is browned, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle with paprika and Sazon Goya con Azafran and add water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes.

Add diced potatoes and ham and simmer 15 minutes. Stir in chickpeas and pepperoni and simmer 10 minutes more. Season to taste with salt and pepper before serving.

Makes 6 servings.

*Sazon Goya con Azafran is a prepared seasoning available in the Hispanic section of most supermarkets. Substitute a pinch of saffron threads and salt, to taste.