Before we get to the recipe, I want to mention two tips that will help you make this dish as tasty as possible. First, be sure to use homemade stock or a high-quality store-bought stock. The chickpeas will be braising for 8 hours in this liquid, so you want to make sure it’s top notch. Second, do not use canned chickpeas here. Starting with dried chickpeas allows you to really infuse them mouth-watering flavor. Continue reading for the recipe.
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Adapted from here
For the braised chickpeas:
2 1/2 cups dried chickpeas, picked over and rinsed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
3 bay leaves (preferably fresh)
3 cups vegetable stock (preferably homemade)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 15 oz. can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained
For the spinach salad:
3/4 cup finely chopped red onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups baby spinach
Add dried chickpeas to a large bowl then add water, covering by 2 inches (they expand a good amount). Let soak overnight then drain well.
Warm olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and bay, stirring to coat in the oil. Cook until the vegetables are soft, but not brown (6 - 7 minutes). Stir in vegetable stock and scrape the bottom of the pan to lift any brown bits. Transfer mixture to a slow cooker. Add chickpeas, stir, cover and cook on low for 6 hours.
Stir in 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, several turns of black pepper, and the tomatoes, cover and cook for an additional 2 hours. The chickpeas should be tender, but not mushy. Season to taste with additional kosher salt and black pepper.
Remove and discard bay leaves. Scoop chickpeas from the slow cooker using a slotted spoon and place in a serving bowl. Reserve the braising liquid.
While the chickpeas are cooking, prepare the vinaigrette. Add red onion, garlic, red wine vinegar, kosher salt and a few turns of black pepper to a mason jar, shaking to combine. Add extra-virgin olive oil and shake again until the vinaigrette emulsifies (oil and vinegar mix together). Just before you are about to serve, toss baby spinach with vinaigrette.
To serve, spoon chickpeas on to a large, dinner plate. Top with a little braising liquid to moisten. Place spinach salad on the side.
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