Spicy Tomato, Chickpea and Spinach Stew
- Servings: Serves 2 as a main course or 4 as a side dish.
This is an adaptation of a recipe by Brooklyn chef Missy Robbins that recently appeared in Food & Wine's excellent February 2017 issue about healthy eating and it is a celebration of nutrition, taste, and pantry cooking. Canned tomatoes and chickpeas, plus fresh greens and vibrant seasonings create a complex and slightly soupy flavor bomb that comes together in less than a half-hour.
In the original recipe, Chef Robbins used Tuscan chopped kale, which I found didn't cook to tenderness in the three minutes allotted, so I substituted baby spinach which does (you can also use baby kale which likewise takes far less time to cook than sturdy Tuscan kale).
I also cut the amount of oil and chickpeas nearly in half, thereby reducing the calories without compromising the flavor or satisfaction at all.
This is a dish that is made almost entirely from your pantry. All you need to add is a box of fresh spinach and the rest of the ingredients you can have kept on hand. Try to use your best tomatoes -- San Marzano DOPs or else if you're lucky, a jar of ones you canned from last summer. The quality of the tomatoes makes this dish.
The way I serve this is by half-filling a soup bowl with this robustly flavorful almost fricassee-type stew and then draping it with a piece of pan roasted salmon. It's become one of our most favorite weeknight dinners. Plus it's quick to make: aside from opening a couple of cans, all you need to do is slice the garlic cloves and the entire stew cooks in only 30 minutes; while it simmers, you can make the fish.
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 5 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced thin
- One 28-oz. can whole peeled Italian tomatoes (San Marzanos, if you have them), crushed by hand (you don't need to drain them but neither should you add all the watery liquid from the can to the recipe)
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
- One 8-oz. box of washed baby spinach or baby kale (pick off and discard any long stems)
- 1 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- Grated Parmesan for serving (about 1/3 cup)
- Place the olive oil in a large saucepan and heat it over medium low heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until the garlic is softened but not browned, about 5 minutes.
- Add the crushed tomatoes and any juices that resulted from crushing them, plus a generous pinch of salt. Cook at a gentle simmer over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes break down completely and the sauce reduces and thickens, about 20 minutes.
- Add the spinach into the sauce, stirring so that all the leaves get soaked into the sauce and heated through, about 3 minutes.
- After the spinach leaves are all wilted, add the chickpeas and heat through, about another 3 minutes. Taste and season with salt if necessary.
- Spoon into soup bowls and sprinkle each serving with grated Parmesan.
- Serve immediately.