Chickpea & Spinach Stew Recipe (Potaje De Garbanzos Con Espinacas)

There are many recipes with chickpeas cooked throughout Andalucía and cooks know very well when the perfect time of the year is to buy them. Chickpeas can be small or slightly bigger, of a lighter or darker colour and they can be purchased in glass jars ready to be cooked, but one thing is certain for this particular recipe, they should be bought dried and need to be soaked overnight. 

This is a very simple yet hearty and flavoursome vegetarian recipe, perfect to eat on one of those rainy days in winter, with good bread and a glass of a hearty red wine from Ronda. The combination of chickpeas and fresh spinach, together with garlic and onion, cumin and pimentón, bay leaf and tomatoes has never let down any cook, as long as the chickpeas have been cooked properly and they are from the most recent crop if possible. 

This recipe is taken from Cocina de Andalucía by María José Sevilla, published by Ryland Peters & Small (£22). Photography by Nassima Rothacker © Ryland Peters & Small.

Read Maria's exclusive interview with Sous Chef, or try her recipe for Roasted pepper and tuna empanadilla.

Ingredients for Chickpea & Spinach Stew

How to make Chickpea & Spinach Stew

  1. Place the chickpeas in a large saucepan, cover with plenty of water and a pinch of salt and leave to soak overnight.
  2. The following morning sieve and wash the chickpeas under running water. Return to the pan, adding fresh water to cover - about 3–4 fingers above the chickpeas. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, add the bay leaf and cover with a lid. To become tender, chickpeas need to be cooked at least for 1 hour or even more.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan. Add the onion and the garlic and cook until the onion becomes transparent and soft before adding the tomatoes. Bring to the boil and reduce the heat to a moderate temperature, stirring from time to time with a wooden spoon until small oil bubbles appear on the surface of the onion, garlic and tomato mixture (sofrito). Add the cumin, pimentón and some black pepper, stirring to avoid burning the pimentón. Cook for another 1–2 minutes, then set aside.
  4. Once the chickpeas are tender, add the sofrito and cook all together for another 30 minutes. If needed add some warm water to loosen (never cold).
  5. Place the spinach in another saucepan, season with a little salt, pour some boiling water over and cook until tender. Strain and squeeze to remove as much water as possible. Add the spinach to the chickpeas, stir and let simmer all together for a couple of minutes.
  6. Place in a serving dish with the chopped egg scattered over the top and serve while hot.
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