Creamy Chicken Potato SoupRopa Vieja

The picture may resemble entrails, but the name actually means "Old Clothes".  Don't be afraid, though; this is actually a delicious garbanzo stew native to the Canary Islands.  The flavor and texture is refreshingly different: varied and substantive, with a hint of peppery heat.  I have modified this recipe very slightly for American ingredients, kitchens, and serving preferences.

1-2 lb stewing meat [beef, pork, chicken all good… chicken perhaps less so.]
1.5-1.75 lb garbanzos, left soaking overnight [unless canned (use 2 16 oz cans)]
1-3 potatoes, chopped to bite size
1-2 tomatoes, depending on size, chopped and peeled (or 1 small can tomatoes, partly drained)
1-2 onions, depending on size, minced
6 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped.
½ cup olive oil
1-1.5 bay leaves (you don’t want to chop these)
½ teaspoon thyme
Hot pepper to taste (Tabasco sauce and/or red pepper flakes great)
Salt to taste
2 cups broth (if you don’t have a very flavorful broth from the meat, use bouillon cubes or powder as directed. Chicken bouillon tastes fine with pork.)

Place garbanzos, meat, and water in a pot or saucepan. [if garbanzos are canned “prepared,” don’t add them at this stage.] Once cooked all the way through, drain the meat and garbanzos, saving the broth. When cooled enough, chop the meat in edible portions and set aside. In a large frying pan or wok, heat up the oil (medium-medium high). Throw in the onions, the bay leaves, the thyme, the potatoes, and the garlic (and the meat, if likely to benefit from it). Once the onions are golden and the potatoes are done, throw in the tomatoes, hot pepper, salt, meat, and garbanzos, and simmer for a few minutes. Remove from heat and serve; may benefit from resting a few minutes before eating. Be sure to remove the bay leaves unless you want more bay leaf flavor to soak in (it can become very strong).  Feeds 4-6 people.

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