Sunday, July 25, 2010

Gettin' Easier

Week two of the Cholesterol Challenge!  So far so good in watching our food and this week's menu came to me a bit easier than last week.   I found this recipe through one of my favourite food blogs Smitten Kitchen - I loooove this site as the food always looks amazing but the recipes aren't overly complicated.  There's more baking than cooking, but when I saw this little gem I had to try it.

Hint - get the smoked paprika, regular paprika just doesn't have the same rich smokiness that you need - it's what makes this recipe so yummy.

Spinach and Chickpeas from the

1/2 pound (230 grams) dried chickpeas, cooked until soft and tender* or two 15-ounce cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed (important, rinse the chickpeas, otherwise it gets too mushy)

6 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound (450 grams) spinach, washed
A hefty 1-inch slice from a country loaf or about 2 slices from sandwich loaf bread (2.5 ounces or 75 grams), crusts removed and cut inset small cubes
1/2 cup (4 ounces) tomato sauce
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika**
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Lemon juice, to taste

Place a large saucepan over medium heat and add half the olive oil. When it is hot, add the spinach with a pinch of salt (in batches, if necessary) and stir well. Remove when the leaves are just tender, drain in a colander and set aside.

Heat 2 more tablespoons olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Fry the bread for about 5 minutes or until golden brown all over, then the remaining tablespoon of oil and the garlic, cumin and pepper. Cook for 1 minute more or until the garlic is nutty brown.

Transfer to a food processor, blender or mortar and pestle along with the vinegar, and mash to a paste. Return the mixture to the pan and add the drained chickpeas and tomato sauce. Stir until the chickpeas have absorbed the flavors and are hot. Season with salt and pepper.

If the consistency is a little thick, add some water. Add the spinach and cook until it is hot. Check for seasoning and serve with paprika on top, or on fried bread toasts (as the Spanish do).

My adjustments - I maybe used 2 tbsp of olive oil - 6 seemed a wee bit excessive but I'm sure delicious.  Because I reduced the oil, I had to use a bit more vinegar to mash the bread into a paste.  For the paprika, I added it in with the cumin so the yummy smokiness went throughout the whole dish plus I added in more spinach, more like 2 pounds (or two bunches)...1 pound just wasn't enough.  This recipe is pretty flexible so you can add more or less ingredients depending on your taste.

Mmmm.  Going to get some of this stuff to munch on now!


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