Chickpea & spinach soup

chickpeaspinachsoup-recipeLiving in Mallorca means learning to cook. Things like saffron (azafran), red paprika (pimentón) both mild and hot, bottled chickpeas, and dried lentils are all becoming part of my Spanish winter larder staples.  Never thought I’d use chickpea and recipe in the same sentence. People can change. I’ve been pulling out recipes from magazines for years for the day when I have a proper grown up life.  That day is now.

This recipe is thanks to British chef Rowley Leigh from the FT weekend magazine.  Rowley’s most famous book  No Place Like Home sounds like it could be a good read.  In the meantime, here are a few of his other hearty winter soup recipes.

I like cooking that needs as few pots as possible and the less fuss the better.  Rowley is my man as his soups fit the bill.

Chickpea and spinach soup

  • 200g chickpeas (tinned or bottled must be drained)
  • 1 chili (i used dried chili peppers)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 onion
  • 100g pancetta, lardons (or in my case serrano ham)
  • 2 tomatoes or 100ml tinned peel & chopped (I chopped with skins on)
  • 1 generous pinch saffron
  • 1/2 tsp pimentón picante (hot)
  • 750ml chicken stock (bouillon cube for me)
  • 400g spinach

Chop onions finely and stew in a couple tblsp of olive oil with chopped garlic and salted pork cut into small cubes.   Cook on low heat for about 10 minutes without allowing mixture to brown then add tomato and cook for another 5 minutes.  Add saffron and pimentón, chickpeas (cigron in Catalan)  & chicken stock.  Bring to a simmer and season with coarse salt as required.  Add fresh spinach.  The recipe calls for searing spinach in olive oil and squeezing out excess liquid before adding to soup but that means another pan…hmmm.  Anyway, I have asparagus.

Preparation time 15 minutes, leave to cook, write in your blog. Rowley Leigh credits this recipe to Caroline Conran from her book Sud de France by Prospect publishers. You can buy it on Amazon here.  Again, perhaps another cookbook to add to my shelf? In the time I’ve written this post, my asparagus version is  ready to eat. The rich saffron colour and kick from the chili and paprika combined with a smokey sweet saltiness from the serrano is a treat.  Result.  Serve with grilled chunky bread. chickpeasoup-ready