I had just started daydreaming about shorts weather on Saturday when Cameron told me snow was in our forecast. Not the light dustings we’ve been seeing for most of the winter but a full-fledged storm.
I may have groaned loud enough to give our perpetually bickering neighbors downstairs a moment of pause. Don’t get me wrong. Colorado most certainly needs precipitation. Wildfire predictions for this year are already making me nervous. Folks are hoping that March will bring plenty of snow to make up for its lack for most of the season.
It’s the southern Alabama girl in me that’s ready for warmer weather. Back home March is “Hang Your Clothes on the Line Outside and Slip on Your Flip Flops for the Beach” season. Here, it’s time to lace those snow boots extra tight and stagger to the bus stop so bundled up I look like a snow yeti.
Considering our apartment is a toasty 98 degrees F during the summer, I should complain less and cook more while I can still stand over the stove without passing out from heat stroke.
Below you’ll find a recipe for a warm and nourishing dish Cameron and I swear by on snowy days. Full of flavor without a speck of animal products, these spiced chickpeas are so tasty I’m too busy shoveling them in my mouth to complain the weather like an arthritic 80-year-old. If Cameron only knew what he’d signed up for when he put his John Hancock on our marriage certificate last summer.
Spiced Chickpeas with Spinach
Serves 2 as main dish and 4 as side
10 oz frozen baby spinach, thawed and drained
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
Pinch of saffron threads
2 tsp sweet paprika
1/4 tsp ground cumin
Pinch of ground cloves
Pinch of freshly ground pepper
2 15-oz cans chickpeas with their liquid
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 large tomato, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped (or 1 12 oz can of diced tomatoes)
1/4 cup golden raisins
6 dried apricots, chopped
1. Using the flat side of a large knife, mash the garlic to a paste with 1/2 tsp salt and the saffron. Transfer the garlic paste to a small bowl. Add the paprika, cumin, cloves, and black pepper and mash until combined. Stir in 1/4 cup of the chickpea liquid.
2. Wipe out the skillet. Add 2 Tbs of the olive oil to the skillet and heat until shimmering. Add the onion and tomato and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until they are softened, about 3 minutes. Add the spiced garlic sauce to the onion and tomato in the skillet and cook for 1 minute.
3. Add the chickpeas and the remaining liquid to the skillet. Add the raisins and apricots and bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Add the spinach, reduce the heat to moderate, and simmer for 15 minutes. Transfer the chickpea stew to 2 to 4 deep bowls, drizzle with the remaining 2 Tbs of olive oil on top, and serve.
*A hefty slice of crusty bread goes great with the chickpeas, especially if you want to sop up the last bits in the bottom of the bowl.