One of the oldest recipe of The Spanish Cuisine; Chickpeas with Cod and Spinach, “Potage de Vigília”
This week I bring you an old dish representative of the Spanish Lent. Perhaps this dish has become a Spanish cuisine classic because of its excellent nutritional value, fascinating flavour, or historical value.
But before we start cooking, here is some information to understand better this humble dish.
Preparing for Easter.
Lent is the time in the Christian calendar destined for the spiritual preparation before Easter. It is about 40 days of purification and internal illumination.
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday in the Catholic rite and ends just before the Lord's Supper's Mass on Holy Thursday afternoon. The forty-day duration comes from various biblical references: The ordeal Jesus went through when he stayed for 40 days in the Judaean desert before his public mission, the 40 days of the universal flood, the 40 years of the march of the Israelite people through the desert, and the 40 years that the slavery of the Hebrews lasted in Egypt.
Jesus in the Desert (Ivan Kramskoi)
Throughout Lent's season, Christians are called to strengthen their faith through various acts of penance and reflection. The practice of Lent dates back to the fourth century. It was a sad and boring time, marked by fasting and abstinence under the Catholic Church's mandate.
Until 1966 the "Bula de Carne", could be issued in the parishes. Possession of this served to circumvent the prohibition of eating meat and reduce the time of fasting. Although you would own the "Bula de Carne", Fridays were compulsory abstinence, and food consumption was reduced to fruits, vegetables, fish, and legumes.
Bula de Carne
Between the XVI and XVII centuries, the first Spanish Recipe books appeared. On them, you can see how a kitchen used to work, the scarcity of those times, and the church's restrictions dictated in the Lenten diet.
In that situation, chefs had to figure out how to make rich food with the ingredients they had and were allowed to use.
Chickpeas with Cod and Spinach recipe, "Potaje de Vigilia"
- 200 g chickpeas
- 200 g salted cod flaked
- 150 g spinach
- 1 leek
- 2 carrots
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt to taste
- 4 boiled eggs
For the "Majado"
- 20 g walnuts or almonds
- Three garlic cloves
- 1 tsp cumin
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 10 filaments of saffron
- Sprig of parsley chopped
- 50 gr (2 o 3 slices) of bread
For the "Sofrito"
- Oiva oil
- 1 tbsp paprika "pimentón"
- Salt to taste
For the Chickpeas
- Pour 2 litres of water into a pot, along with a leek, two carrots and a bay leaf.
- Put it over high heat. When the water is hot, add the chickpeas previously soaked for approximately 9 hours (depending on size).
- When it comes to a boil, skim the impurities with a spoon and let the chickpeas boil for about 2 hours in total.
- While the chickpea is cooking, you can cook the eggs for 12 minutes and start with the stew.
- Cut the leek into brunoise and put it in a pan with a little olive oil.
- Cook the leek over medium heat until it is brown.
- Add the paprika "pimenton", and mix well with the leek.
- Cook it for a couple of minutes and then add the tomato in brunoise.
- Stir it well; the tomato will immediately release water and thus prevent the paprika from burning. You can also add few water from the pot.
- Cook everything together for another 12 minutes, and then pour them into the pot of chickpeas.
- After 1 hour and a half of cooking, add the chopped potato and, 10 minutes later, the spinach.
- Let it cook for 15 minutes more.
For the "Majado".
- In a frying pan with very little oil, fry the bread on both sides. Place in a mixing glass or mortar.
- In the same oil, toast the walnuts and garlic. Peel the roasted garlic and put them together with the fried bread and walnuts in the mixing glass.
- Remove the cooked leek and carrot from the chickpea pot and put them together with a bit of cooking water and about 6 chickpeas in the mixing glass.
- Add the cumin, saffron and parsley and blend everything.
- Add the mashed "Majado" to the pot of chickpeas.
- The stew already has the body, colour and an excellent flavour.
- When the stew is ready, after two hours of cooking, add the flaked and desalted cod in the water previously.
- Mix well, cover the pot with a lid, and turn off the heat.
- After five minutes, serve the stew in a bowl or a soup plate with boiled egg and sprinkled parsley.
I hope you like this recipe so influential and warm up your soul.
Have a Tasty Day!