We are coming out of lockdown 3 here in the UK. Like a hedgehog crawling out from beneath a bed of leaves after winter hibernation, we are waking up after a challenging winter of restrictions to glorious sunshine and now we can get a haircut (so needed) and sit outside and drink beer (working up to it).
There is finally some heat in the sun and always when there is a tangible shift in the weather for the better, my thoughts turn to holidays. I am not sure when I will feel ready to brave air travel but making one of my favourite tapas and eating in the sunshine, I can let my imagination do the rest.
Spinach and chickpea stew or espinacas con garbanzos, is a classic tapa from Seville eaten all over Andalucía. It was introduced to Spain by the Arabs and has been a traditional lent staple as a replacement for meat. I first tasted it in a bar in Seville on a cold December evening. Served piping hot in a little ceramic tapas dish, the creamy texture of the chickpeas and soft spinach, spiked with mild cumin and paprika was intensely comforting. It’s has become a staple in my house any time I need a bowl of comfort. A plate of this stew, a glass of glass of young cava in the sunshine is a glorious end to a working week and my imagination can take me to Spain for now.
400g jar chickpeas
250g bag spinach
½ small onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic
¼ tsp smoked paprika
2 tbsps sun dried tomato paste
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
Salt and pepper
Rinse the chickpeas in cold water and drain.
Heat a pan over a medium flame. Add the olive oil and then add the onions. Cook for 5 minutes until the onion has softened.
Add the garlic and cook for another two minutes.
Add the spices and the tomato puree. Cook for one minute.
Add the spinach and allow to wilt slightly and add the chickpeas and sherry vinegar.
Cook for 10 minutes adding a splash of water if needed. Season to taste.