At this time of year I panic a little, thinking of all the food that comes with Thanksgiving and then Christmas. I don't panic about cooking holiday foods, because I like to cook, but the siren song of leftover pumpkin pie, apple cake, and the upcoming cookie deluge calls me. And I don't want to crash on those rocks!
So I act like a healthful eater in an attempt to be a healthy person. It doesn't always work, but I feel so noble eating good-for-me stuff that sometimes that wholesome glow carries on when those sweet leftovers start calling my name.
This is a recipe from The New York Times and it's become my go-to dish for a healthy lunch or for those dinners when Tom is eating leftover spaghetti for the third time in a row. (He's easy to please. For Tom, food is just fuel.)
I don't know what it is about this combination of onions, garlic, cumin, tomato paste and broth that turns boring garbanzo beans and spinach into something ethereal and elevating, but it does.
The New York Times' Chickpeas With Baby Spinach
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt, preferably kosher salt, and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 (15-oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock, or water
Cayenne to taste
1 6-oz. bag baby spinach
1. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until tender, about five minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, tomato paste and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring for one to two minutes, until fragrant and the tomato paste has turned a darker color. Add the chickpeas, the stock or water, and the cayenne, and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer 10 minutes.
2. Stir in the spinach, a handful at a time, stirring until each addition of spinach wilts. Add salt to taste and simmer uncovered, stirring often, for five minutes. Add lots of freshly ground pepper, taste and adjust salt and cayenne, and serve.
You can serve this over pasta or some grain-type thing like couscous, but I like it just the way it is. Enjoy!
Yield: Serves three (but more like two)