Recipe for Moorish-Style Chickpea and Spinach Stew

Moroccan Stew
Moorish-Style Chickpea and Spinach Stew Stew

I listen to NPR every day on the way home from work. Because of the economic recession, they were doing a piece on how to feed your family of four with only $10. To me, cooking cheaply is always a win. Especially something yummy. This chef told a wonderful story about how his wife made this for him when they were first married. (And he was probably less famous and making less money.) I find it’s always encouraging to cook if I hear more about how wonderful this dish is. Jason really loves this dish.

Moorish-Style Chickpea and Spinach Stew


1 14 oz can of chickpeas or 9 ounces dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 ounces white sliced bread with the crusts removed
2 tablespoons pimenton (Spanish sweet paprika) or just regular paprika
1 pinch saffron
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1/2 pound spinach, washed and cleaned (I’ve also used kale.)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste

If you’re using dried chickpeas, you want to soak them with a pinch of bicarbonate soda the day before you make this. Then drain and rinse them. After that, you’ll want to drain and rinse them. Then simmer them for 2 hours in 2 1/2 quarts of water. Every 10 or so minutes, you’ll want to add 1/2 cup of cold water to slow down the cooking. Almost all the water cooks out by the time you’re done.

If you’re using canned chickpeas, you skip the above steps.

In a saute pan, heat the olive oil on medium to low heat. You want to then brown the bread on each side in the pan. Yes, soaking up as much oil as the bread can. (I tend to use homemade bread, so I don’t usually cut the crusts off.) Set the bread to the side when you’re done.

Let the pan cool for a couple minutes before putting the pimenton and saffron into the pan. Immediately add the sherry so it doesn’t burn.

You want to use a mortar to smash up the bread. (In the original recipe, it also calls for garlic, but I’m allergic so not in my stew.)

In a saucepan, add chickepeas and 1/2 cup of water and bring to a low boil. Add the spinach. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add the pimenton mix and bread as the stew becomes thicker. Simmer for 5 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

3 Replies to “Recipe for Moorish-Style Chickpea and Spinach Stew”

  1. OK wait, a bottle of Saffron is $18.99 at my local chain grocery store. How the heck do you get ALL the ingredients for $9.71 at that rate? Saffron is one of the most expensive spices around. Obviously they’ve amortized this over using the saffron for dozens, scores, or hundreds of other meals.

    Anyway, the most important spice taste-wise is the cumin. I’ve made a variation of this dish for years, using additional vegetables like cabbage (purple cabbage looks especially lovely), carrots, and turnips.

    1. @Carole — Yeah, Saffron is definitely ridiculously expensive, and they definitely counted only what they need. Which I’m not sure if you can buy Saffron in bulk spices. The rest of the spices, yes.

      Oooh, I might try adding some of those other vegetables to the mix next time I make it. Especially when cabbage is in-season a lot longer than spinach.

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