Espinacas con garbanzos
Of all beans, chickpeas are my favourite by far. I think it´s because beans can so easily become mushy, but garbanzos, being rock hard, hardly ever have that problem. Of course that´s what makes cooking them such a lengthy pursuit, so you can guess that this is another of those beans-in-a-jar recipes.
It´s quite an oddball recipe in the Spanish canon, in that there are no pig parts lurking around. It´s just chickpeas with spinach. You´ll find no panceta, chorizo, morcilla, ear, snout or knuckle. Also, it´s eaten with a fork, usually served as a first course or a tapa, not as a hearty potaje. I love it on toast doused with extra virgin olive oil.
Of course in a normal country it would be a side dish, but you know how it is here. Orphan hunks of meat or fish, or else beans escorted by a phalanx of cholesterol.
Which is not to say that you have to do it our way. As you can imagine, it nestles very comfortably up to Moroccan or Middle Eastern food, and personally, I think it´s a winner with roast lamb as served in Burgos, but don´t let them hear me say so, or I´ll have my citizenship taken away.
A note about proportions. I´ve used the ones normally available here, that is, 185 gr. jars of chickpeas, and 400 gr. packets of fresh spinach. But it´s a pretty accomodating dish, and you can change the quantities to suit you or your grocer. At most, you´ll find you have garbanzos con espinacas instead of espinacas con garbanzos.
As for the half cup of tomato sauce, well, I know it sounds like an irritating thing to say, but bear with me. You don´t have to use tomato in this recipe, but it´s so much better with it. And if you have half a jar of tomate frito left over, I´m sure you can find a use for it. So go on, try it.
Espinacas con garbanzos
1 small onion
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup tomato sauce ( tomate frito, without corn syrup or dubious stuff, please. Just add a bit of sugar if you like)
1/2 tsp of cumin, or to taste
400 gr. fresh spinach
185 gr(drainded weight) chickpeas
Tabasco or dried chili
salt, pepper, olive oil, lemon juice
In a biggish pan hat has a good lid, sautee the onion in olive oil, and when it´s transparent, add the minced garlic and cumin. Let it cook for a minute, until it´s fragrant.
Now add the spinach, tomato, and drained chickpeas.This is a messy procedure, as the spinach takes up a lot of room, but it will collapse quickly, so just move it around, clamp the lid, and after a minute, shake it around. The idea is that the liquid the spinach gives out is soaked up by the chickpeas, so there´s no sogginess. In no more than five minutes, it will be dark green and soft, but very juicy. Taste for salt and cumin, add a splash of Tabasco, a squirt of lemon juice, and you´re in business.
It tastes better lukewarm, so try not to be greedy.