Preparation Method:

  1. This garbanzo and spinach soup recipe makes 6 servings as a main course, 12 servings as a “tapa.”
  2. The Night Before: The night before you plan on cooking this dish, soak the dried salt cod in a glass baking dish filled with cold water. Make sure that the fish is entirely covered with water. You should change the water 2-3 times before cooking the fish to ensure that the salt has leached out.
  3. Soak the garbanzos overnight in a stockpot, making sure that the water covers the beans.
  4. Pour the garbanzos into a colander. In a large stockpot, where you will cook the soup, pour in about 9 cups of water and bring to a boil. While you are waiting for the water to boil, rinse cod and cut into small pieces (2” x 2”). Peel one onion and stick it with a whole clove. When the water boils, put the garbanzos, cod, onion, carrot and bay leaf. Bring water back to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer.
  5. Wash the spinach thoroughly to ensure there is no sand in it. The easiest way to do this is to place a colander in the sink, place a bunch of spinach in the colander and spray it with water as you turn the leaves over. Once cleaned, steam the spinach for about 5 minutes. Drain of all water by squeezing it and then chop it coarsely.
  6. If you are using frozen spinach, thaw the packages and allow the spinach to drain, squeezing extra water from it.
  7. Peel and chop the onion coarsely. Sauté the onion and chopped garlic in approximately a 1/4 cup of olive oil. Add the paprika and the tomatoes and sauté for 5 minutes.
  8. Put the sautéed mixture and spinach into the garbanzos and cod and continue to simmer.
  9. When the garbanzos are almost done – after about 2 1/2 hour of simmering, remove the onion, carrot and bay leaf. Take the clove out of the onion and discard. Place the onion, carrot and a couple large spoonfuls of the garbanzos in a food processor and puree. Return the puree to the soup and continue to simmer until the garbanzos are tender. Serve very hot with a baguette.
  10. Optional: If you wish to add eggs, boil the eggs until hard. Remove the shells and chop them into small pieces. Add eggs to the soup just before serving and stir.

Prep Time: 24 hours

Cook Time: 3 hours

Total Time: 27 hours

Although this recipe from New Castilla/Madrid region takes a little advanced preparation by soaking both the cod and the garbanzos for about 24 hours, this soup is worth it. It is full of flavor and like our American “chile,” it seems to get even better when eaten the following day! If you are planning a tapa party, it also works well served in small bowls as one of the main tapas of the evening. Be sure to serve some lighter vegetable dishes to compliment this hearty soup!

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