Potaje de Garbanzos - Spanish chickpea soup
Potaje de garbanzos y espinazos is a Spanish chickpea and spinach soup typically prepared during Holy Week. It is a rather nourishing and dense soup of vibrant, orange color given by the aromatic base of vegetables with a prevalence of peppers and tomatoes. I also love the contrast given by the deep green spinach leaves that are added fresh as the final touch. Traditionally the Spanish garnish this soup with boiled eggs, but it is just superb also without!
- Cut the bread into cubes and toss it in a hot pan with a spoonful of olive oil and a clove of garlic, finely chopped. Put aside.
- Coarsely chop the onions, dice the carrot, the pepper and the tomatoes into small cubes. Sauté the onion in a pan with a drizzle of oil. Let sauté for 5 minutes then add minced garlic, diced vegetables, bay leaf and cloves. Season with salt and pepper and add 1 or 2 teaspoons of sweet paprika powder. Cook the vegetables for about ten minutes, until they are soft. Remove the bay leaves.
- In a mixer, blend the sautéed vegetables, the bread cubes toasted in oil and 2 tablespoons of chickpeas with a little water, to obtain a velvety cream. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Put the vegetable cream back in the pot and add the remaining chickpeas, come little water (but not too much as we want to keep our potaje dense and creamy. Let simmer on low heat for about twenty minutes allowing the flavours to mix well .
- Five minutes before serving add the fresh spinach leaves, let simmer briefly. Don't overcook the spinach leaves, we want to keep that beautiful intense green colour.
- Serve your potaje with some finely chopped boiled egg to garnish. (optional!)