4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, finely diced
1 celery stick, finely diced
A few sprigs of thyme
2 bay leaves
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
300g streaky bacon or pancetta, diced
200g vacuum packed or jarred whole chestnuts, roughly chopped
1 tsp pimenton (hot smoked paprika)
100g young spinach leaves, washed and drained
350g dried chickpeas, cooked in boiling water until tender (reserve 150ml of the cooking liquid) or 2 x 410g cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Freshly chopped flat leaf parsley, to garnish
1. Heat the oil in a large pan and gently fry the onion for 3 – 4 minutes until it begins to soften. Stir in the carrot, celery, a few sprigs of thyme and the bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 2 – 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Add the garlic, bacon or pancetta, chestnuts and pimenton. Gently fry until the vegetables become golden and the bacon is crisp. Stir in the chickpeas and 150ml of their cooking water, or plain tap water.
3. Bring to a simmer and cook for 1 – 2 minutes until the chickpeas are hot. Scatter the spinach over and stir through the chickpeas and bacon. Remove from the heat, season to taste and serve immediately, garnished with chopped flat leaf parsley.
This is one of the prettiest dishes I have cooked, with its myriad of colours. I also loved how the flavour of this dish comes together, this wonderful combination of vegetables, bacon and chickpeas. This is a Spanish dish and I got this dish from the show ‘A Cook’s Tour to Spain.’ Been cooking a bit of Spanish food these days, even the classic paella. I miss the tapa walks I had in Madrid and Barcelona, trying out the dishes at one tapas bar with a glass of red before moving on to the next: the patatas brava, the grilled octopus, the chorizo, the anchovies. It’s strange, I remembered having a great time when I was there and I was astonished to hear the ill treatment my asian friends had when they went over there. Oh well, maybe things have changed there since I last visited.