(Adapted from The Columbia Restaurant)

I grew up vacationing in Longboat Key with my family, and every summer we’d trek to Sarasota for a meal at the famous Columbia Restaurant. I’d get a cup of their incredible Spanish Bean soup and half of a Cuban sandwich. Life was good.

I’ve tried several recipes that claim they are THE Columbia recipe, but this one I think comes closest. It uses dried garbanzo beans that cook in a broth with ham and beef bones. That process makes all the difference. It’s a hearty satisfying bowl of goodness that takes me immediately back to my childhood. And it is fabulous on a day in February when the high temperature is supposed to be around 38 degrees! Stay warm and inside if you can, and if you are lucky enough to be able to make this soup – LIFE IS VERY GOOD!

1 lb uncooked garbanzo beans, dried (also called chickpeas)
1  ham bone
1 beef bone
4 quarts  water
1 TBSP salt
1⁄2 lb  salt pork, cut in thin strips 
1 onion, finely chopped 
2 chorizo sausages, casings removed
4 potatoes, peeled and diced
1 tsp saffron
1 tsp  paprika

Wash garbanzo beans and drain. Place beans in a pot or large bowl and soak overnight with 1 tablespoon salt in enough water to cover beans by 1 inch.

Drain the salted water from the beans. Place beans in very large soup pot; add 4 quarts of water and ham and beef bones. 

Cook for 45 minutes over low heat, skimming foam from the top. 
Brown the salt pork in a skillet until crispy.

Add chopped onion and sauté for about 10 minutes.

Add the onion mixture to the beans along with potatoes, paprika, and saffron. Add salt to taste. 

While potatoes cook, brown and crumble the chorizo in a saute pan until done.

When potatoes are tender, remove from heat and add chorizo. Serve with crusty bread (Cuban if you can find it) Rich, satisfying and delicious! ENJOY!

Serves 8.