Spanish Chickpea Stew (Espinacas Con Garbanzos)

😍😍 Flavor-packed Spanish chickpea stew with spinach and almonds. Serve it warm or at room temperature–as a tapas dish or dinner–with your favorite crusty bread.

Early Harvest Greek extra virgin olive oil
8 to 10 oz/283.5 g baby spinach
2 ½ oz/ 70.8 g blanched almonds
2 slices whole wheat bread, crust removed, cut into small cubes
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 ¼ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar, more for later
1 small onion, chopped
1 small sweet bell pepper (any color), cored and chopped
1 lb canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed (just over 2 cans of chickpeas)
½ cup/ 141.7 g tomato sauce
For garnish
Handful fresh cilantro leaves
Cubed bread, toasted in olive oil
Toasted blanched almonds

In a large skillet like this one, heat 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil over medium heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add spinach and cook, tossing regularly, until just wilted. Transfer spinach to a colander to drain.
Return skillet to heat and add a little more extra virgin olive oil. Add blanched almonds and bread. Saute briefly until almonds turn a golden brown color, then add garlic, spices, and a dash of salt and pepper. Cook briefly until garlic gains a little color, be sure to toss well so that the spices coat the almonds and bread.
Let cool briefly, then transfer almond and bread mixture to food processor fitted with a blade (a small food processor like this one works really well here.) Add vinegar and pulse a few times until you have a thick, crumbly, paste-like mixture. Set aside for now.
Wipe the skillet and add a little more extra virgin olive oil. Add chopped onion and bell pepper and cook, tossing regularly, until tender. Add chickpeas, tomato sauce, and ½ cup (125 ml) water. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a high simmer, then lower heat and let simmer on low for about 10 minutes.
Add the wilted spinach and almond-bread mixture to the chickpeas. Stir and let simmer another 5 minutes. Taste and adjust salt and pepper and spices to your liking (if you like it a little more spicy, add a dash more cayenne. And if you want it a bit more smoky, add a dash of smoked paprika.)
Finish with a splash more vinegar. Garnish with cilantro, toasted bread, and toasted blanched almonds (optional). Transfer to a serving bowl and add a generous drizzle of Early Harvest extra virgin olive oil. Enjoy warm or at room temperature with your favorite crusty bread!

Cook’s Tip to Prepare Ahead: To save some time, you can always prepare the the almond and bread mixture a day or so in advance. Keep refrigerated in a tight-lid glass container. When you are ready, you can resume at step #4.
Cook’s Tip: this dish will feed up to 8 people as tapas. For dinner, it can serve 4.
Leftovers? This chickpea stew will keep well for 3 to 4 nights, refrigerated in tight-lid glass containers. You can serve it at room temperature, or heat it stove-top over medium heat with a little bit of water added.

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