My favorites kinds of meals are those simple, rustic, peasant-era dishes that may not contain the fanciest ingredients or appear particularly gourmet, but are passed down through generations with a love and pride for culture and tradition. Although this is not one of the many recipes I’ve inherited from my grandmothers, it is reminiscent of an Old World European cuisine that warms my heart with every bite. Better yet, it is an easy, cheap and healthy stand-by meal that is jam-packed with protein, essential vitamins and antioxidants. This has quickly become one of my favorite weekday dinners, with plenty leftover for lunch(es)!
Garbanzos con Espinacas (Spanish Chick Pea and Spinach Stew)
Adapted from Food and Wine magazine.
10 ounces baby spinach
1 cup of water
2 large garlic cloves
Pinch of saffron threads
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of ground cloves
Pinch of freshly ground pepper
Two 15-ounce cans chickpeas with their liquid or 4 cups of dried chick peas, soaked and then boiled
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 large tomato, seeded and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup golden raisins
Crusty bread, for serving (optional, but recommended)
Pour water into a skillet and add spinach leaves. Place covered over high heat until spinach has wilted, about 5 minutes. Drain the spinach in a colander, squeezing to extract the liquid. Coarsely chop the spinach and set aside.
Mince the garlic with a pinch of salt. Transfer to a small bowl and add the saffron, paprika, cumin, cloves and black pepper. Stir in 1/4 cup of the chickpea liquid.
In a large sauce pot, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and heat until shimmering. Add the onion and tomato and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until they are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic sauce and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chickpeas and the remaining liquid to the pot. Add the raisins and bring to a slow boil over medium-high heat. Add the spinach, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
Serve the chickpea stew in deep bowls, drizzled with olive oil and accompanied with a good, crusty bread.
Yield: Approximately 4 servings
Time: 30-45 minutes