Wandering home weary after a long day, the thought of the kitchen can be quite dispiriting. Even for me, a person who loves spending time in that room eating and playing with ingredients. Today was one of the very rare days that I just didn’t have the energy and after a long day in the office, I was only fit for laziness, so, I invested in a block of nice goats cheese and some red wine, and on my journey home I resigned myself to a pleasant end of evening tucking into both.
But then, I got home, and on opening the fridge remembered something I threw together yesterday and had a bowl of stored in the fridge: a very quick pancetta, chorizo, chickpea and spinach stew. Ridiculously easy and quick, I sauteed about 60g each of pancetta and chorizo, added half a tin of chickpeas, and a couple of handfuls of spinach at the end. The joy when I spied that bowl, all I did was reheat it with a little cream for moisture and luxury and ate it on a couple of slices of toasted ciabatta. Toast! Ah toast. Really, there’s some days that you really can’t beat it and today is one for me.
I’m happy now. And I’m tucking into that cheese with a glass of that nice red wine :)
Yum scrum! Spiced chickpeas with spinach. The humble chickpea, small and nutty, packed full of protein and fibre. So tasty and cheap, I bow before thee. I first had chickpeas in a youth hostel in Rome many years ago, at the tender age of 19. A fellow youthful traveller was eating them out of a tin that he had hacked open with a swiss army knife, I was curious and had to try. I’ve never looked back.
I love chickpeas, whether they are in dips, stews or curries. In salads with cheeses, herbs and tomatoes. I like them baked as a snack or spiced in a pitta. Like all pulses, it is worth making the effort soaking dried ones over night and cooking them until tender, if reasonably fresh, usually for an hour or so. There’s no comparison for me between dried and tinned – the texture of those cooked from dried is so much better, firm to the bite, rich in flavour and not waterlogged like tinned.
Earlier this week, I soaked and cooked off a big bag of dried chickpeas, and, for that evening, spiced about 2 tins worth with spinach and froze the rest. It’s a quick dish with tasty results. This will serve 4 and is good served stuffed in toasted pitta bread. [Read more]