Photo by Food52.
What you will need:
½ pound (1 generous cup) of dried chickpeas (you can buy them canned, just drain and rinse)
7 garlic cloves, peeled (you can buy a small jar of these already peeled to make life easier)
1 onion, peeled
1 bay leaf
About 1 ¼ pounds spinach, tough stems removed, rinsed, and coarsely chopped (This is about 10 loosely packed cups or 1 pound after trimming. You can find the spinach bagged and cleaned)
2 tbsp. of olive oil
1 slice of country bread, remove crust (don't worry, it's okay!)
Generous pinch of saffron threads, warmed and crushed
1 tsp. cumin seeds, toasted in a dry pan until fragrant and finely ground (you can find this already done)
2 tsp. sweet smoked paprika
Dash of sherry vinegar, as needed
What to do:
Clean the dried chickpeas, rinsing well and soak overnight. Next day drain well. If using canned chickpeas (I do), then drain and rinse. Place the chickpeas in a saucepan of water covering them by two inches.
Tie together four of the garlic cloves, the onion, and the bay leaf in a piece of cheesecloth and add the sachet to the pan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered adding 2 tsp. of sea salt after the first 10 minutes of cooking. Simmer until the chickpeas are tender, about an hour for the dried beans, much less if using the canned. Remove the pan from the heat and remove the sachet from the pan. Leave the chickpeas in their cooking liquid. Untie the sachet discard the bay leaf, and reserve the garlic and onion.
Place the spinach in a saucepan with only the rinsing water clinging to its leaves and cook over medium heat, stirring and turning constantly with tongs, until wilted, 5-6 minutes. Drain well in a sieve, pressing with the back of a spoon. If the leaves seem stringy or too big, you can chop them a bit more. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a small sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the bread and the remaining 3 uncooked garlic cloves and fry, turning as needed, until golden, 4-5 minutes. Transfer to a blender or small processor, add the saffron, and pulse until pulverized. Add the onion and garlic reserved from the chickpeas, the cumin, paprika, and 1 cup of the chickpea cooking liquid and puree until smooth.
Add the puree and the spinach to the cooked chickpeas. Place the mixture over low heat, stir well, and bring to a simmer. If it seems dry, add a little water as needed so the stew can be eaten with a spoon. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Taste and balance the seasoning with vinegar.
Transfer to a serving dish, and serve warm.