Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Fried Chickpeas with Sausage and Spinach

I have a thing for garbanzo beans. I eat them at least three times a week in soup, or salads, or as hummus, and I'm always on the lookout for a new way to use my favorite bean. When I saw Mark Bittman's Fried Chickpeas with Chorizo and Spinach in last week's New York Times I put it immediately into rotation.

I followed the method and the main ingredients of the recipe, but I did make one pretty big change. Instead of chorizo, I used spicy chicken sausage that I squeezed out of the casings and broke it into bits as it cooked. I wanted to stay true to the flavors of the original, so I added a scant half teaspoon of smoked hot paprika (pimentón de la vera) as the chickpeas and sausage cooked, and I think I could have been more generous with it.

Finally, I forgot the sherry. Oops! I didn't have any in the house, but I had thought it through and I was going to use dry vermouth or maybe a splash of vinegar to cut some of the oil a bit, and while I LOVED this the way I made it, it was missing that added depth that wine gives a dish. When I make it again (which will be very soon) I will not be so forgetful.

Fried Chickpeas with Sausage and Spinach
adapted from Mark Bittman at the New York Times
serves 3-4

Don't skip the drying off the chickpeas step, or they won't get crispy and browned, they'll just stay sort of mushy. I like mushy beans just fine, but that's not really what you're going for here.

1/4 cup olive oil
1 can (or two cups) cooked chickpeas, rinsed and patted dry with paper towels
3 links spicy chicken sausage, casings removed (1/2 - 3/4 lb)
1/2 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
salt and pepper
10 oz spinach (if you use grown up spinach, remove the tough stems and tear the leaves into smaller pieces)
approximately 1 cup bread crumbs (I used panko, but homemade breadcrumbs -sandwich bread whizzed in the food processor - would be ideal here)
1/4 cup sherry, dry vermouth or white wine OR a splash of wine vinegar

Heat the olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the chickpeas in one layer and cook, shaking or stirring occasionally, for five minutes. Then add the pimentón and chicken sausage, breaking it up in the pan with a wooden spoon. Cook for another 5-10 minutes until the sausage is cooked through and the chickpeas have taken on some color. Remove to a bowl using a slotted spoon.

Add the spinach and sherry to the oil remaining in the pan and saute until the spinach is thoroughly wilted down and liquid has evaporated, 5-8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then add the chickpeas and sausage in one layer on top of the spinach. Turn on your broiler.

Sprinkle the dish with the breadcrumbs, drizzle with a little more olive oil if you like, and stick it under the broiler for a couple of minutes until the breadcrumbs brown.


  1. wowsa, a winning combination for sure! i'll have to add it to the top of my to-make list :)

  2. I agree, chickpeas are the best!! They are so creamy and delicious. I love this recipe =)

  3. This showed up three times in my google reader by various bloggers and each time I saw it presented I only wanted to eat it more! Thank you for sharing :)

  4. All that oil scares me a bit. Do you think you can crisp them up with just EVOO spray or a smaller amount of oil? I do love chickpeas. :)

  5. Elina, yeah, I think you could probably cut the oil in half (or even only use 1 tablespoon) and still be ok, especially if you're using a well seasoned cast iron or non-stick pan. Next time I may use a little less oil, though I must confess I didnt' really measure it (bad food blogger!) I just poured a glug or two into the pan. I don't use spray oils so I can't really tell you what that would be like, but a can of chickpeas is only like 79 cents, so if they burn or stick, I wouldn't feel too bad about it. Let us know how it goes if you make it!

  6. This looks terrific - I might try it and cut the oil in half . . . but it has a lot of my favorite ingredients - thanks!

  7. I've made this twice now since you posted about it and it was fantastic! It comes together SO quickly and was great the next day too for lunch. Thanks for sharing the recipe :)

  8. Hi~
    I am new to your blog and found it through SmittenKitchen and am happy to discover that I already like it!
    The recipe sounds great, thanks for sharing.

  9. Wow. I totally missed this recipe in the Times somehow, which is really strange b/c this is so up our alley. Thanks for pointing it out!

  10. FINALLY got around to making this. Totally delish. Going into the Sutherlands of Somerville's dinner rotation STAT.