Step 1In a large soup pot, combine the chickpeas, chicken, beef, ribs, salt pork and hambone, along with the leek, carrot, turnip and celery. Add the water. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Skim the froth off of the top, cover the pot and gently simmer for 1 hour.
Step 2Add the potatoes and season to taste with salt. Cover and continue to cook until the potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.
Step 3Strain 5 cups of the broth into another pot. If preparing the soup with bread, cut the bread into strips and divide it among 4 soup plates. Ladle the hot broth over the bread. If desired, a few chickpeas can be included in the broth. Garnish with sprigs of mint.
Step 4If using rice or noodles for the soup, bring the broth to a boil and add the rice or noodles. Simmer until the rice is tender, 15 minutes, or for noodles, 6 minutes. Serve immediately.
Step 5Remove the meats, vegetables and chickpeas from the soup pot. Cut the chicken and meat each into 4 serving pieces and arrange on a serving platter. Cut up the leek, carrot, turnip and potatoes and place on the platter with the chickpeas.
Step 6After serving the soup, serve the platter of meat and vegetables.
Step 7Leftover broth and chickpeas can be refrigerated and saved for another soup.