Chickpeas and Spinach Broth Recipe

Caldo de Espinacas y Garbanzos
Before moving to Spain more than 20 years ago from the UK I doubt whether I’d ever seen or heard of a chickpea never mind eaten one! Yet nowadays it’s a great favourite of mine in all kinds of hearty stews. Many of these stews use chorizo to add a strong flavour to them and combine various vegetables to create a really healthy meal.

The one described here is a fairly watery broth which combines the humble chickpea with spinach (another ingredient that I wasn’t aware of in the past, it was just something that Popeye ate!).

Chickpeas and Spinach Ingredients

Serves 6 to 8 people

  • ½kg of dried chickpeas
  • ½kg of spinach
  • 125g salt cod – use fresh cod if salt cod isn’t available
  • 1 large onion chopped finely
  • 2 medium sized tomatoes peeled
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 laurel leaf
  • parsley
  • 3 soup spoons of olive oil
  • 1 soup spoon of flour
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • salt
  • pepper
  • water

Cooking Method

Cover the chickpeas in warm water and soak them overnight.

Drain the chickpeas and put them in a large pan with 2 1/2 or 3 litres of hot water, 2 cloves of garlic that have been peeled but not chopped, the laurel leaf and the salt cod. Do not soak the salt cod in advance as this provides the salt for the dish. If you are using fresh cod you will need to add salt and you shouldn’t add the cod until later. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for about 2 hours.

Wash the spinach thoroughly and peel and chop the tomatoes. Once the chickpeas have been boiling for 2 hours add the spinach and the tomatoes and cook for another 30 minutes. This may be a good time to add the fresh cod if you are using it.

In a small frying pan add the 3 soup spoons of olive oil and fry the onions for about 5 or 10 minutes until they go transparent. Add 1 clove of crushed garlic, about a teaspoon of parsley, the paprika and the flour. Mix this well and continue to fry over a low heat for about 5 minutes taking care not to burn the mix. Add this to the saucepan of chickpeas and spinach, check that it doesn’t need any more salt and add some pepper. Cook for a further 30 minutes.

Serve in soup bowls with crusty bread.