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Slow-Cooker Spanish Chickpea Soup
5 h 15 m
“This easy soup recipe is inspired by cocido, the hearty stew of assorted meats, chickpeas and vegetables considered a national dish of Spain. Each region, family and restaurant has its own variation, but this slow-cooker soup has enough meat to satisfy the carnivores and enough vegetables to make it healthy. Ask for a 4-ounce slab of Serrano ham or prosciutto at your deli counter instead of buying slices. If you don't have a 6-quart (or larger) slow cooker, opt for the stovetop variation instead.”
1 (4 ounce) piece Serrano ham or prosciutto, cut into ½-inch cubes
4 ounces Spanish-style chorizo, cut into ½-inch rounds
8 baby red potatoes, scrubbed and halved
1 large leek, white and light green parts, halved and thinly sliced (see Tip)
2 medium carrots, cut into ½-inch chunks
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 large cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon smoked paprika, preferably Pimentùn de la Vera
½ teaspoon saffron threads or ¼ teaspoon powdered saffron
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth or stock (or Slow-Cooker Chicken Stock, see associated recipe)
½ medium cabbage (about 1 pound), cored and cut into 8 wedges
Ground pepper to taste
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
1Soak chickpeas in enough cold water to cover them by 2 inches for at least 12 hours and up to 1 day.
2Place chicken in a 6-quart (or larger) slow cooker. Drain the chickpeas and add along with ham (or prosciutto), chorizo, potatoes, leek, carrots, celery, garlic, bay leaves, oregano, paprika and saffron. Bring broth (or stock) to a boil in a saucepan, then pour it into the slow cooker. Cook on High for 4 hours.
3Transfer the chicken to a clean cutting board. Nestle cabbage into the soup, cover and cook until it is tender, about 30 minutes. Discard the bay leaves. Remove the chicken from the bones and stir it back into the soup; season with pepper. Serve sprinkled with parsley.
Clean leeks well to be sure they're grit-free. After slicing, place in a bowl of water and swish around to release any sand or soil trapped between the layers. Scoop the leeks out of the bowl with a slotted spoon, leaving any dirt behind. Drain well. Repeat as needed.
To make ahead: Soak chickpeas up to 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate soup for up to 3 days.
Equipment: 6-quart (or larger) slow cooker
Stovetop variation: Soak the chickpeas (Step 1). Drain, place in a large pot and add ham, chorizo, potatoes, leek, carrots, celery, garlic, bay leaves, oregano, paprika and saffron. Add 8 cups broth (or stock) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until the chickpeas are tender, about 1 hour. Add chicken and cabbage and simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the cabbage is tender, about 20 minutes more. Remove the chicken from the bones and stir back into the soup. Season with pepper. Serve sprinkled with parsley.
For easy cleanup, try a slow-cooker liner. These heat-resistant, disposable liners fit neatly inside the insert and help prevent food from sticking to the bottom and sides of your slow cooker.