Chickpea and Spinach Soup


Some of my favourite recipes were acquired over years of watching my father making the same dishes over and over again.  He had a phenominal talent for being able to replicate recipes from his childhood in Spain without a recipe – something I still struggle to achieve!

I am desperately trying to recall some of the more complicated recipes that either he or my Abuelos used to make (like a dish I used to call paella soup!) which exist solely in my head somewhere, or on badly scrawled bits of paper. At the time they were being made so often that I didn’t need to worry. Fast forward a few years and I no longer go to Spain as often as I once did, nor do I cook Spanish food as often. Usually a trip back to Valencia will invigorate a few months of passionate attempts to recapture Spain back in the UK.  We haven’t been back to Spain for a few years (young kids + really nice flat = no holiday!) but I have just recently made some Paella for some guests which inspired me to make this soup to use up some leftover chorizo. (Yes, I will work on getting a recipe out for Paella… I just forgot to take the photos of the finished product which means I need to make it again!)

Alright, so this is another soup recipe in the middle of summer – give me a break, I live in Scotland and we don’t have summer!! It is a chunky soup which I find makes it more suitable as a stand alone meal.  My husband would argue that this makes it a stew.  I however, think a stew is a bit more like a wet one pot meal. It is all about the ratio of broth to substance. Regardless… if you are using tinned chickpeas and frozen spinach then it can quickly provide a meal in minutes. I would serve this simply with some slices of fresh bread.

The chorizo can be optional here – so don’t let its inclusion deter you from making this. Finally, don’t be put off by the egg, it really does finish it off. However, if you are not going to eat the soup right away then I would suggest you keep the egg separate and add it in before reheating the soup and then serving.

Serves 4

  • Olive oil
  • 1 large Onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1/2 (~110g) Chorizo ring, sliced into pieces (optional)
  • 2 tins (480g drained) Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 100g Spinach, roughly chopped
  • 2 pints (2 1/2 cups) Vegetable or Chicken Stock
  • 2 Eggs, hardboiled and peeled
  • 1/4 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat a little olive oil in a large saucepan over moderate heat, then add in the onion and garlic and cook gently until soft and translucent. At this point I would add in the chorizo (if using), sautéing on both sides until lightly browned.

Next add the vegetable/chicken stock, chickpeas, smoked paprika and spinach. Bring to the soup to the boil and reduce to a simmer for a few minutes until the chickpeas have warmed through and the spinash has nicely wilted – about 15 minutes. This may take less or more time depending on whether you have cooked your own chickpeas or used frozen spinach for instance.

Cut the eggs in half and remove the yolk from each. Then chop up the white of the egg and add this to the saucepan. Place the yolk in a small bowl or mortar and break it down to a fine crumb with a spoon or pestle. Add a little of the broth from the soup and blend together to form a smooth paste before tipping it into the soup. Stir through and simmer for a few more minutes to warm through and then serve.

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