Braised chickpeas and spinach

A simple combination of ingredients and textures which works every time, writes Alison Lambert.

This is great eaten with a piece of grilled bread but also works as an accompaniment to any number of dishes.

Photo: Simon Lambert
Photo: Simon Lambert
Braised chickpeas and spinach

Serves 4-6

300g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
750g spinach, well washed and tough stalks removed
¼ cup olive oil
1 onion, sliced thinly
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
½ tsp cumin seeds
2 spring onions, sliced thinly
1 Tbsp fresh fennel or dill leaves, roughly chopped
salt and cracked pepper
1 lemon to serve

Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Put into a large pot and cover with plenty of cold water. Bring to the boil, then reduce and simmer until tender (45-60 minutes).

Leave to cool in cooking liquor.

Wash the spinach and discard any tough stems or discoloured leaves. Chop roughly.

In a medium to large saucepan, heat the oil over a moderate heat. Add the onion and garlic and gently cook until translucent and soft (5 minutes).

Add the cumin seeds, and cook for 1 minute.

Add the cooked chickpeas and stir well to coat in the onion mixture.

Add the spinach and season with salt and pepper. Add 1 cup of the chickpea cooking liquor. Cook for 10 minutes.

Add the spring onions, chopped fennel/dill leaves and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. The chickpeas and spinach should be moist, but not soggy.

If dry, add a little more chickpea liquor. Adjust seasoning if necessary.

Serve with wedges of lemon.

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