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Espinacas con Garbanzos [Spinach and Chickpeas]

Espinacas con Garbanzos [Spinach and Chickpeas] Categories: Appetizers|Beans|Vegetables
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    1/2 pound (230 grams)  dried chickpeas, cooked until soft and tender or two 15-ounce cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
    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 into small cubes
    1/2 cup (4 ounces)  tomato sauce
    3  garlic cloves, thinly sliced
    1/2 teaspoon  ground cumin
    Pinch  red pepper flakes
    1 1/2 tablespoons  red wine vinegar
    1/2 teaspoon  smoked paprika
      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).

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