Moroccan chickpeas & spinach (4-6 servings)

mcp.jpg

On New Year's Eve, Bryan and I decided to make a new recipe (together!) and then watch a new (to us) movie. We started off with a glass of wine, some SNL reruns, and a batch of French onion soup-stuffed mushrooms. They were delicious even though they were time-consuming to make, although mine didn't turn out as beautiful as the Pioneer Woman's.

We finished the evening by making the Smitten Kitchen's version of Moroccan spinach and chickpeas and watching Devil while we ate. Cooking a new, exotic recipe and watching a mysterious, critically-disdained movie turned out to be fairly similar experiences. During both activities, we found ourselves thinking,

How will this turn out? Will there be any unpleasant surprises? Will the various elements come together for a satisfying ending? Will M. Night Shyamalan make a cameo?

(In the end, the answer to the final question was "no" for both.)

You will need:

  • 2 15-oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 5 Tbsp olive oil (I just happened to have a bottle of Moroccan olive oil from one of Bryan's friends!)
  • 1 lb spinach, washed and torn into smaller pieces
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika (I used the spicy kind and thus skipped the red pepper flakes)
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce (canned is fine)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp red wine vinegar (all I had was white)
  • juice from half a lemon (or more, if desired)

Steps:

  1. Heat 3 Tbsp of the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the spinach and a pinch of salt and stir well. (The volume of the spinach will drastically decrease, so don't worry if it doesn't seem to fit in the pan at first!) When the spinach leaves are just barely tender, drain them in a colander and set aside.
  2. Heat the remaining oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add in the garlic, cumin, pepper flakes, and paprika; stir for 30 seconds.
  3. Add in the drained chickpeas and tomato sauce and mix in the vinegar. Cook and stir for a few minutes, just until the chickpeas are heated through. Add the spinach back in and season the mixture with salt and pepper and lemon juice.

You can serve this as is or mash it up a bit and serve it over toasted crusty bread. I did the latter and Bryan did the former. Deb's version of the recipe involves grinding up bread in a food processor and adding it to the dish to make it thicker, but that was more work than I was willing to do that night. I'm sure it's good though! Maybe I'll try that next time.

Next time, I might also use a little less oil, since the spinach got a little slick in the end. I will also be lazy and buy bagged, washed spinach instead of washing my own. There are many kitchen tasks I'm willing to do on my own, but after realizing how long it takes to thoroughly wash and dry a pound of spinach, I probably won't do it again for a long time!

mcp2.jpg