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Spanish Bean Soup
A Columbia Restaurant Signature Soup

This is the soup that made the Columbia famous for food. The Columbia’s founder, Casimiro Hernandez, Sr., adapted his version from the heavy, multi-course cocido madrilène stew of Spain. His simplified version served elements of the original feast – meat, potatoes and garbanzos – in one bowl. By the 1920s, newspapers boasted of Tampa’s three great delights: sunshine, cigars and soup.


½ pound garbanzo beans (chickpeas), dried
2 quarts water
1 tablespoon salt
1 ham bone
1 beef bone
¼ pound salt pork, cut in thin strips
1 onion, finely chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and cut in quarters
½ teaspoon paprika
Pinch of saffron
1 chorizo (Spanish sausage), sliced in thin rounds


Wash garbanzos. Soak overnight with 1 tablespoon salt in enough water to cover beans. Drain the salted water from the beans. Place beans in 4-quart soup kettle; add 2 quarts of water and the ham and beef bones. Cook for 45 minutes over low heat, skimming foam from the top. Fry salt pork slowly in a skillet. Add chopped onion and sauté lightly. Add to beans along with potatoes, paprika and saffron. Add salt to taste. When potatoes are tender, remove from heat and add chorizo. Serve hot in deep soup bowls. For a thicker soup, stew it longer. Serves 4.