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Betsy Block

Moorish-Style Chickpea and Spinach Stew



This recipe is adapted from Tapas: A Taste of Spain in America by Jose Andres (with Richard Wolffe) (Clarkson Potter 2005).

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

6 garlic cloves, peeled

2 slices of white bread, crusts removed

2 tablespoons pimenton (Spanish sweet paprika, although we used Hungarian sweet paprika  not hot  since we couldn't find Spanish; no one complained)

1 pinch Spanish saffron threads

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

3 cups canned or jarred chickpeas

1/2 pound spinach, washed

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Salt and white pepper to taste


Heat the olive oil in a small saute pan over a medium-low flame. Add the garlic and cook until it is browned, about 3 minutes. Remove the garlic from the pan and set it aside. Add the bread to the pan and brown it on both sides, about 1 minute each side. Remove the bread and set it aside.

Remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool for a few minutes. Add the paprika, saffron and cumin to the pan, and then immediately add sherry vinegar to prevent the paprika from burning. Leave the pan off the heat.

With a mortar and pestle, smash the reserved garlic and the toasted bread to make a very thick paste.

Bring the chickpeas and their liquid to a low boil (add some water as needed, in order to have enough liquid to cook the spinach) and add the spinach. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add the paprika mixture along with the bread-garlic paste. You should have a thick, stewy sauce. Season with salt and white pepper to taste and serve immediately.