From Mike Gebert
[Says Mike: “This is adapted from Anya von Bremzen’s The New Spanish Table, although the underlying concept is so simple it’s basically making any split pea soup recipe with chickpeas/garbanzo beans instead of split peas. I make soup by feel, if you need more precision than below, check out her original recipe.”]
1 medium onion, chopped
1 leek, white part sliced
1 carrot, diced
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
Hunk of bacon or ham or salt pork or smoked ham hock or any flavorful hunk of pork; the more flavor it has, the better your soup will be, so choose wisely, if you can visit a place like Paulina Meat Market for a chunk of slab bacon, do so!
A couple of cans of chickpeas, most but not all of their liquid poured off
Jamon serrano or iberico
1. Put onion (including discarded tops), carrot, leek and garlic in stockpot with a little olive oil, and fry fairly low for 2-3 minutes, then cover pot and cook about 5 to 7 minutes more.
2. Add about 6 or 8 cups of water and the pork. Let simmer for a couple of hours, partly covered, until it makes a nice pork stock.
3. Meanwhile, heat a pan with 1/4 cup of olive oil in it on low till it’s almost hot. Remove from heat and sprinkle 1 heaping teaspoon of smoked paprika into it. Let sit for 45 minutes, then pour off oil into small bowl or jar, leaving paprika behind.
4. Add chickpeas to stock, and let simmer for another hour.
5. Remove pork product and save for at least one more use. Season to taste– salt, pepper only. If it needs sharpening, give it a little slug of sherry vinegar. But not too much! If you can taste vinegar, it’s too much.
6. Fry a couple of slices of jamon iberico or serrano in a pan till they just start to crisp up. Remove and cut into 1/4″ squares. They will continue crisping after frying.
7. Start transferring the soup mixture to a food processor or blender and puree. (You’ll need another stockpot or bowl for each batch as it’s pureed.) Reheat, and serve with a few driblets of the paprika oil and a pinch of the jamon– not too much as it’s very salty and strong and will affect the flavor quickly.