How to Make Chickpea and Pork Rib Soup
Northern Italian Ceci con le Costine
Hi Sweet Friends,
When November 1st rolls around, we celebrate All Saints’ Day, which is part of the Triduum of Allhaollowtide that includes All Hallows’ Eve (October 31), All Saints’ Day (November 1), and All Souls’ Day (November 2). Christian cultures around the world celebrate this Triduum. And in my home that means Ceci con le Costine—or Chickpea with Pork Ribs Soup—a Northern Italian specialty. And legend holds that if you eat this soup on November 1, you will be blessed with good fortune and protection! 😉
Now when it comes to the specifics, I actually use bone-in, thick-cut pork chops, instead of pork ribs, because that is what my Mom did. It is definitely an abbondanza meal! An abundant meal—a meal of plenty.
Also, breaking with tradition, my mom never shredded the pork into the soup, which is typical. Staying to her abbondanza way of life, she gave everyone their own pork chop! This is a hearty meal!! But you can certainly shred the pork chops into the soup if you prefer. It will be easy to do since after simmering for three hours, the meat will be falling off the bone tender!
This is such a delicious soup, I hope you’ll give it a try. You will definitely enjoy it…and maybe a little good fortune will come your way! 😉
Watch this YouTube video as I walk you through the step-by-step process of making Chickpea and Pork Rib Soup—Northern Italian Ceci con le Costine.
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I look forward to having you join me in my Texas Hill Country Kitchen!Love,
You can print the recipe below.
Chickpea and Pork Rib Soup Recipe - Northern Italian Ceci con le constine
For the Soup
- 2 cups Dried chickpeas, washed and soaked overnight also known as "ceci" or garbanzo beans. You can substitute cooked or canned chickpeas but add them in at the end of the cooking time.
- 2 tablespoons Clarified butter
- 2 tablespoons Lard
- 2 Thick-cut, bone-in pork chops or 1 pound (or more) meaty pork bones or pork spare ribs
- 1/4 cup All-purpose flour or "Wondra" flour
- 2 Medium yellow onions, chopped
- 2 Carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 Celery Stalks, including tops, chopped
- 2 Garlic cloves, peeled and diced small or pulverized in a mortar and pestle
- 2 Bay leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon Thyme, dried
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon Red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup White vermouth or substitute white wine or water
- 2 cups Chopped tomatoes, canned can use 15 ounce can of chopped tomatoes
- 2 cup Shredded greens any greens will do such as kale, Swiss Chard, Beet Greens, or Lettuce
- Water, to cover pork chops by 1 inch
For the Croutons
- 3-4 cups Day old bread, cubed with or without the crusts
- 2 tablespoons Lard
- Salt, to taste
For the Soup Topping
- 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated can substitute Grana Padano
- 1 tablespoon Fresh parsley, chopped
For the Soup
- Heat the clarified butter and the lard in a large soup pot on medium heat.
- Dredge the pork chops in flour and shake off excess. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper.
- Once the butter and lard are sizzling, add the pork chops and brown on each side. Approximately 3-5 minutes per side.
- Once the meat has browned on both sides, add the chickpeas, if soaked overnight but uncooked. If using cooked chickpeas, add these at the same time you add the 2 cups of shredded greens.
- Now add the onions, carrots, and celery to the pot.
- Next, smear the garlic on top of each pork chop.
- Allow the chickpeas and vegetables to sauté for a few minutes, then add the white vermouth.
- Next, add the bay leaves, thyme, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. And now add the chopped tomatoes.
- Add approximately 6 cups of water to cover the pork chops by about 1 inch.
- Bring soup to a boil, then turn the heat down to low and cover the pot. Allow the soup to simmer on low for 3 hours.
- After three hours, the pork should be very tender and falling of the bone. At this point either shred the pork chops into the soup (and remove the bones), or if just serving two, leave the pork chops whole.
- Add the shredded greens. Also, if using cooked chickpeas (or canned chickpeas), add them now. Simmering time will vary depending on type of greens used. If using lettuce, simmer for only a few minutes. If using a sturdier green such as kale, simmer at least 10 minutes.
- Ladle soup into serving bowls and dot with croutons. Or, if pork chops have been kept whole, place a pork chop in each serving bowl and ladle with the soup. Dot the croutons around the pork chop so that they are floating in the soup.
- Top the soup with a sprinkle of grated cheese and parsley. Enjoy!
For the Croutons
- While the soup is simmering on low, make the croutons. Place the lard in a frying pan and melt it over medium heat.
- Once the lard is melted, add in one piece of the cubed bread. If it sizzles, the temperature is correct. If not, turn up the heat slightly and try in another minute to two with a second cube.
- Once the lard has come up to the proper temperature, toss in all the cubed bread and periodically toss them with a spoon or spatula until they are golden brown.
- Remove the croutons to a paper towel-lined plate and sprinkle with salt. Set aside. Once the soup has been ladled into individual serving bowls, add some croutons to each bowl.
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