Spinach & chickpea bake with a blood orange & watercress salad recipe image

Print Spinach & chickpea bake with a blood orange & watercress salad

Inspired by a restaurant called the Moroccan Soup Bar in Melbourne. Famous for its verbal menu, quirky opening times and chickpea and yoghurt bake, the queues can be out of the door. Layers of crispy flatbread, warm spiced chickpeas and cool yogurt: it’s a classic North African dish called fetteh, and, as it turns out, it isn’t baked at all.

Ingredients

  • 1 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ½ vegetable stock cube
  • 1 tin chickpeas
  • 2 pitta breads
  • 200g spinach
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 100ml yoghurt
  • 1 lemon
  • 50g watercress
  • 30g parsley
  • 2 blood oranges
  • 60g flaked almonds
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • Salt & pepper

Method

  1. Peel and finely slice the onion. Peel and finely chop 2 garlic cloves. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and gently fry the onion, bay leaves and the cinnamon stick for 10 minutes, until the onions soften and start to brown.
  2. Meanwhile, boil a kettle and measure out 250ml of water. Crumble in ½ the stock cube and mix until dissolved. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Toast 2 pittas (in a toaster or under a grill) until well browned on both sides. Leave to cool. Wash the spinach, strip out any large or tough looking stalks and roughly chop the leaves.
  3. Add the garlic, cumin, coriander and chickpeas to the onion. Fry for 1 minute more, then tip in the stock. Simmer gently for 15 minutes to soften the chickpeas. While the chickpeas simmer, mix the tahini with the pots of yoghurt and 1 tablespoon of juice from the lemon. Season with salt and pepper. Wash the watercress and parsley. Shake, pat or spin them dry.
  4. Remove the leaves from the parsley and roughly chop them. Cut away the skin from the oranges and remove the segments (see cook’s note), or slice them into rounds, reserving any juice. Make a quick dressing by whisking 1 tablespoon of orange juice with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Heat the frying pan on a medium heat, add the almonds and toast them, turning often, until lightly browned. Take care not to burn them.
  5. Mix the almonds with a dash of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Remove the bay and cinnamon from the chickpeas. Now stir the spinach into the warm chickpeas until it has just wilted and cooked. Remove from the heat and add half of the yoghurt mix, stir it through to warm up.
  6. Check the seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper if needed. Tear the pittas into rough pieces and lay them in the bottom of the baking dish. Top with the warm chickpeas. Spoon over the remaining yoghurt and scatter over the almonds and parsley.
  7. Finish by sprinkling over the smoked paprika. Let the whole thing sit for a few minutes while you mix the watercress and orange segments with the dressing. Serve generous scoops of the ‘bake’ with the salad on the side.

Cooks notes

To perfectly segment an orange, remove the top and bottom and cut away the rest of the skin with a small, sharp knife in downward cuts. Hold the skinned fruit in one hand and make a V-shaped cut on each side of the membrane to release each segment. Rotate and repeat.
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