This is a recipe we stole from Silvia’s mother. She used to make it for us when we moved in together and didn’t trust our ability to feed ourselves. Now it’s one of the comforting stews we prepare regularly during cold months. If all that green is putting you off, don’t worry! We swear this is a very tasty dish, and the gooeyness of cooked spinach can be toned down with a few tricks.
We buy dry legumes in order to reduce the amount of cans and trash we produce, but cooked bean cans work just fine and halve the cooking time. We won’t judge you because, on the other hand, we use frozen spinach for convenience.
- 3 cups dry chickpeas or 3 (19 oz.) cans of cooked chickpeas
- 300 g frozen whole leaf spinach (use less or chopped spinach if you are not a fan of goo)
- 2 onions
- 4 garlic cloves or as many as you can mince before you get tired
- 1 tablespoon de la Vera smoked paprika (it has to be pimentón de la Vera or it won’t taste the same, we can’t stress this enough)
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or another vegetable oil if you are a heathen
(TL;DR: Get cooked chickpeas) If you are using dry chickpeas, leave them to soak in abundant warm water the night before. The day you are making the recipe, drain the remaining water, and boil the chickpeas in a pot of clean water with no salt for at least one hour or until they are tender. In the few minutes after they start boiling, a mysterious foam will start to emerge. This is called scum or aquafaba, depending on who you ask. We haven’t tried this, but apparently it can be used to replace egg whites (if you have any good recipes that use it, share them with us!) because of their texture and protein content or whatnot. You can use it or throw it away, but either way, scoop it off your boiling chickpeas. When they are done, drain the water and reserve.
Mince the garlic and onions. Heat half the oil (two tablespoons) over medium in the biggest pot you have in your house, fry half the garlic until it’s golden, and then add the onion. Most people seem to add the garlic with or after the onion, but to us that’s just wrong. We want our garlic crispy and flavourful, you do you. Stir occasionally until the onion is transparent.
Add the spinach (frozen or fresh) and cook, stirring frequently until it thaws or wilts, respectively.
In a small pan, heat the other half of the oil over medium, and fry the other half of garlic until golden. Then, add the paprika (pimentón de la Vera, last warning) and cook it for a few seconds so that it doesn’t burn. When it’s done, add it to the pot with the vegetables. You may ask why we don’t cook it all in the pot. We don’t know why, but it tastes so much better this way. Call it magic or call Silvia’s mother.
Mix the vegetables with the garlicky, papriky oil, and add the cooked chickpeas. Stir them well and add hot water until it covers the ingredients, or a little more if you prefer a brothy stew. Set heat to high until the water starts boiling, then lower back to medium. Cook for half an hour until the ingredients absorb all the flavours, salt to taste and serve.