spinach and chickpeas

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This was adapted from the Smitten Kitchen with my own little take on it.. This made a great side dish with pork chops but it could be served as a vegetarian dish.

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INGREDIENTS

1/2 pound dried chickpeas, cooked until soft and tender* or two 15-ounce cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
6 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound spinach, washed and long stems removed
5 slices of a small Ciabatta loaf, brushed with olive oil
1 cup (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Lemon juice, to taste

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Place a large saucepan over medium heat and add 2 Tablespoons of olive oil. When it is hot, add the spinach with a pinch of salt (in batches, if necessary) and stir well. Remove when the leaves are just tender, drain in a colander and set aside.

Brush the bread with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and toast until crisp and golden. Transfer to a food processor and roughly chop

Heat 2 more tablespoons olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Fry the onion until golden and add the pepper. Cook for 1 minute more or until combined

Return the mixture to the pan and add the drained chickpeas and tomato sauce. Stir until the chickpeas have absorbed the flavors and are hot. Season with salt and pepper.

If the consistency is a little thick, add some water. Add the spinach and cook until it is hot. Check for seasoning and serve with paprika on top, or on fried bread toasts (as the Spanish do).

* In a slow cooker add the beans and cover them 2 to 3 inches of water and cook them 4 hours on high. You can make these ahead of time and leave them soaking in the juice before draining and using them in the recipe.

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