Chickpea and Veal Shank Soup

  • Active Time 20m
  • Total Time 26h 20m

Serves 6 to 8

The Jews in the Roman ghetto traditionally made this soup, a quintessential example of how thriftiness can blend with culinary ingenuity. Along with the very filling chickpeas (which must soak overnight), they used nervetti, an inexpensive cartilaginous cut left after the trimming of shank bones. Nervetti make a rich, very gelatinous broth. To get the desired effect, use veal shanks, also known as osso buco, or beef shanks. They must be meaty, as you will want to be able to remove about 1/2 pound meat from the bones. This is a very homey, thick and filling, comforting soup. Mama food at its best.


  • 2 cups (about 1 pound) dried chickpeas, picked over and rinsed
  • 3 pounds meaty veal or beef shanks
  • Meat broth (for an extra-rich soup) or water
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped
  • 6 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato puree
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish


Place the chickpeas in a bowl with water to cover generously; let soak overnight.

The next day, place the shanks in a large pot with ample water to cover. Bring to a boil, skimming off any foam. Add the onions, celery and carrots, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 1 hour. Drain the chickpeas and add to the shanks along with the tomato puree. Continue to cook until the chickpeas and shanks are tender, about 1 hour longer.

Remove the shanks from the soup. When they are cool enough to handle, cut away any meat still clinging to the bone, and return it to the pot. Bring back to a simmer and season with salt and pepper. Serve at once in shallow soup bowls, garnished with parsley. You may also chill the soup, skim off the fat, and reheat to serve.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Chronicle. All rights reserved.

RecID 3310

nutrition information per serving

509 calories; 10g total fat; 142mg cholesterol; 169mg sodium; 48g carbohydrates; 13g fiber; 57g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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