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Chickpeas and Spinach


"Garbanzos con Espinacas" in Spanish. Both chickpeas and spinach were introduced to Spain by the Moors and are still very much a part of Spanish cooking today. The Moors adopted the sophisticated irrigation systems of the Persians, which enabled them to grow all types of vegetables, pulses & fruit, otherwise almost impossible in the arid south. This recipe comes from Seville and is usually served as a tapa.

This is both unusual and delicious!

Serves 4


200g chickpeas, soaked overnight with a pinch of bicarb (or 2x400g tinned versions if time is short)
6 tbls olive oil
500g spinach, washed
75g white bread, crusts removed, cut into small cubes
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3/4 tsp cumin seeds
1 small bunch fresh oregano, roughly chopped
1 small dried red chilli, crumbled
1 1/2 tbls good quality red wine vinegar
A good pinch of saffron (60 strands), infused in 4 tbls boiling water)
1/2 tsp sweet smoked spanish paprika


Drain the dried, soaked chickpeas in a colander, rinse
under cold water, then place in a large saucepan. Fill with 2 litres cold water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, skimming off any scum as it builds up, and cook for about 1-2 hrs or until soft /
tender. Remove from the heat, pour off excess liquid
until level with the chickpeas, and season with salt/pepper. Set aside.

Place a large saucepan over a medium heat and add half the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the spinach with a pinch of salt (in batches if necessary) and stir well. Remove when the leaves are just tender, drain in a colander and set aside.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a frying pan over a
medium heat. Fry the bread for about 5 mins until golden brown all over, then add the garlic, cumin,
oregano and chilli, and cook for 1 more min until the garlic is nutty brown. Transfer to a mortar and pestle or food processor along with the vinegar, and mash to a paste.

Return the bread mixture to the pan and add the drained chickpeas and saffron- infused water. Stir until the chickpeas have absorbed the flavours and then season with salt and pepper. If the consistency is a little thick, add some water. Now add the spinach until it too is hot, check for seasoning and serve sprinkled with paprika on top with fried bread as the spanish do (or toast)

Taken from Moro The Cookbook


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