Chickpea Spinach Stew
While Spring is definitely in the air, we’re still getting some colder and wet weather here in St. Louis, which is making me crave the hearty warm soups that got me through most of the winter. I’ve been thinking about making some kind of chickpea spinach soup all winter, but just never got around to it. I’m sure that a few weeks from now soup will be the last thing I’ll be craving and figured I should make it sooner rather than later. The recipe that I chose is one from the Catalonian region of Spain and is quick and easy to put together, especially if you use canned chickpeas. It starts with a sofrito, a thick sauce made from sautéing onions and tomatoes. I didn’t have any chorizo so didn’t add that, but I’m sure it would work perfectly with the rest of the flavors. This soupy stew comes out hearty and slightly spicy, and has a detectable rosemary flavor to it. To be honest I’m not normally the biggest fan of this herb, but when joined with the other components of the soup it seemed to take on a whole new quality. This is one of the most deeply satisfying soups I’ve made all winter and next year I will not be waiting this long to make it again.
Chickpea Spinach Stew
recipe adapted from Food & Wine
- 2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 bay leaf
- One 28-ounce can Italian tomatoes plus juices
- 1 pound spinach, thick stems discarded
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
1) Soak dried chickpeas overnight. [or skip this step if using canned]
2) Next day, in a medium saucepan, cover the chickpeas with 2 inches of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the chickpeas are tender, about 1.5 hours; add more water as necessary to maintain the level. Drain the chickpeas and reserve 1 cup of the cooking water.
3) In a medium pot heat the olive oil. Add the garlic, onion, rosemary and bay leaf and cook over moderate heat until the onion is softened, about 7 minutes.
4) Add the tomatoes and cook over moderately high heat until sizzling, about 4 minutes.
5) Add cooked chickpeas and their reserved cooking water and the tomato juice and bring to a simmer.
6) Stir in half of the spinach and cook until wilted, then stir in the remaining spinach. Simmer over moderately low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper.