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Chickpea Soup with Ham and Italian Flat Beans

Serves 4

This Italian-inspired bean soup recipe came from my mother. It is a quick and easy soup to make when you have leftover ham. Italian flat beans are a variety of green beans. It you cannot find them, regular green beans are just as good. I do not use frozen green beans often, but fresh flat beans are difficult to find and frozen work in this soup. If you do not have a ham bone, you can substitute smoked ham hocks. They will need to be simmered until the meat is tender, then remove the meat, discarding the bone and fat, all of which requires more time, so plan accordingly.

Ingredients

In a 4-quart saucepan, sweat the vegetables in olive oil over medium heat until tender; do not brown. Add the chicken broth, water, parsley, bay leaf and ham bone. Bring to a boil; simmer slowly with pot half-covered for about 30 minutes.

Add the ham, chickpeas, green beans and potatoes. Simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove and discard the bone. Taste the soup, adding salt if needed, and pepper. Serve immediately. (Can be made several days ahead and refrigerated. Bring back to simmer and serve.)