I tried this recipe on some friends tonight with good results. My friend Neal said “it tastes like Spain.” Since that was the general idea, I’d consider it a success. On a personal note, I don’t understand why some people persist in calling garbanzos “chickpeas.” “Chickpea” sounds dainty and ineffectual, whereas “garbanzo” is a robust name that rightly does justice to this wonderful bean.
Potaje de garbanzos y espinacas
(Garbanzo and Spinach Hotpot)
1 15 oz. can garbanzos
1 quart chicken broth
½ lb white potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 lb fresh spinach, washed and chopped
1 hardboiled egg
4 tbsp olive oil
1 thick slice French bread (cut into large cubes)
2 cloves garlic, peeled
½ medium onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp. chopped prosciutto (optional)
½ tsp paprika
Drain the garbanzos and rinse in a colander and set aside.
Heat the chicken broth in a large saucepan. When it comes to a boil, add the potatoes and the spinach; cover and simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes, or until potatoes can be pierced with a fork, but are still firm. Add the garbanzos.
Chop up the white of the hardboiled egg. Reserve the yolk.
Heat the oil in a small skillet. Fry the bread until crisp and golden on all sides, then remove from the pan and set aside. Turn the heat down to medium and fry the garlic in the same oil until golden, but not burned; remove and set aside. Slowly saute the onion (and prosciutto if using) until it starts to brown. Add the paprika, stir, then quickly add this mixture to the soup.
Crush the fried garlic and bread with the egg yolk in a mortar, then add to the soup along with the chopped egg white.
Check the seasoning. Cook uncovered gently for another 10 or 15 minutes, then serve. Serves two as a hearty one-dish meal or four as an appetizer soup.
Adapted from: The Heritage of Spanish Cooking, by Alicia Rios and Lourdes March, New York: Random House, 1992.