When I traveled to Barcelona this past June (see my travel photos here) I brought back a massive amount of paprika along with a sack of dried garbanzos. This Spanish Style Chickpea Spinach Stew is a perfect destination for both.
I discovered this recipe as part of an NPR interview featuring budget-conscious meals created by some of the nation’s best chefs. After listening to the endearing story about cooking as newlyweds (listen here), I decided this would be on the menu for the week.
It’s part of a series called “How Low Can You Go” –a family supper challenge where some of the nation’s best cooks came up with a budget-conscious, delicious meal for a family of four. This meal comes in just under $10 and I think we can all use a good budget-friendly meal and a hearty stew for the fall weather.
Plus I got to include a beautiful head of garlic from my garden in the photo!
Plenty of garlic, beans and spices make this soup a flavorful weeknight meal
- 1 cup dried garbanzos chickpeas
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 6 large garlic cloves peeled and whole
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 slices white sliced bread with the crusts removed
- 2 tablespoons pimenton Spanish sweet paprika
- 1 pinch Spanish saffron
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or rice vinegar is a good substitute
- 1/2 pound spinach washed and cleaned
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- Salt and white pepper to taste
Soak the chickpeas overnight in cold water with a 1/4 tsp of baking soda. The next day, drain and rinse the chickpeas.
In a big sauce pot, combine the chickpeas with 2 1/2 quarts (10.5 cups) of water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2 hours. Add 1/2 cup of cold water to slow down the simmering about every 15 minutes. At the end of the 2 hours, the chickpeas should be tender and the water reduced to just barely covering them. Turn off the heat and set aside.
In a small saute pan over medium low heat, brown the garlic with olive oil - about 3 min. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Add the bread slices and brown on both sides, about one minute each side. Remove the bread and set aside.
Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Add the pimenton and saffron to the saute pan and then quickly following add the sherry vinegar to prevent the pimenton from burning. Remove from heat after about 30 sec.
In a small bowl, mash together the garlic and the bread to make a thick paste.
When ready to eat, bring the chickpeas and their liquid back to a low boil and add the spinach. Simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add both the garlic/bread paste and the pimenton mixture and simmer for another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately.
*Using dry beans requires some foresight and cooking time but yields delicious results. I don't recommend canned here, but if you do, you'll need to add water to make a broth.
*You can omit the saffron if you don't have it on hand, but just a small amount - expensive as it is - lends great flavor.