Simple weeknight recipe: Smoky garbanzo and spinach stew

Chickpea and Spinach Stew
Comfort food!

This recipe can be thrown together as soon as your feet hit the welcome home mat. Takes about 10 minutes to make and 30 minutes to cook. Earthy, savory and cheap, this stew cures what ails you, warms the cockles (whatever those are) and leftovers freeze well for the next rainy or cold day.

Be sure to use sherry vinegar – no substitute will do. For a vegetarian/vegan version, use olive oil instead of the bacon and vegetable broth.

Spicy Garbanzo and Spinach Stew
Makes a lot – enough for 6-8 people

2 slices bacon
4 cups onion, thinly sliced
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon smoked paprika (no subbing for regular – invest in this fabulous spice)
1/2 cup dry white wine (sauvignon blanc works great – heed the warning: Don’t Cook with Crap)
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 (14.5-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 (9-ounce) package fresh spinach
2 Tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar

1. Cook bacon in a large dutch oven over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon, break into small pieces and set aside.
2. Add onion and garlic to bacon fat; cover and cook for 8 minutes or until soft, stirring occasionally. Stir in smoked paprika, and cook for 1 minute.
3. Add white wine, broth, and tomatoes; bring to a boil.
4. Add chickpeas; reduce heat, and simmer until sauce thickens slightly (about 15 minutes), stirring occasionally. Add spinach; cover and cook for 2 minutes or until spinach wilts. Stir in parsley and vinegar.
5. Spoon into bowls and sprinkle bacon bits on top.

Serve with crunchy bread and a glass (bottle?) of earthy Spanish Tempranillo.

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