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Video: Try Gail Simmons’ super spinach stew

  1. Closed captioning of: Try Gail Simmons’ super spinach stew

    >>> gail simmons is a cook on bravo's " top chef " and host of " top chef just desserts." and she's the author of "talking with my mouth full".

    >> i spend a lot of time talking with my mouth full.

    >> what influenced you and your approach to food?

    >> so many things. when you start looking back at your life you realize there were so many moments where food plays an important role in the travel i did, growing up my whole life and my family life obviously around the table. so many moments that all led to me deciding i wanted to work with food professionally.

    >> we'll talk about a stew influenced by your time abroad.

    >> when i was young i lived in spain for a year of college. i lived with a family and the woman i lived with decimated her vegetables. we would see beautiful vegetables in the morning and by lunch they were just brown and soggy. i'm redeeming her.

    >> tell me what i can do.

    >> absolutely. first of all i have onion and garlic in a pot. if you want i will grab this chorizo. if not you can totally make it vegetarian.

    >> or turkey sausage.

    >> anything. a little spicy. from here i will add a little bit of tomatoes. throw them right in. let this cook out, brown a little bit.

    >> is this something you can make early before you sit down to dinner because the vegetables take a while?

    >> that's the best thing about stew. they are even better a day later.

    >> chickpeas. can you do them canned?

    >> absolutely. you can do them dried, soak them overnight and cook them or just use canned if you're in a pinch. this is a paprika, bay leaf . my favorite ingredient, fresh artichoke hearts. you can use canned but the fresh ones in season are --

    >> i'm sorry to interrupt. you had them soaking in water.

    >> i did. only soak them with a little bit of lemon juice and water to keep the color or they turn brown.

    >> gotcha. all right.

    >> the chicken stock . cook it out 20 minutes . make sure it's thick.

    >> let's keep moving . i want to get to the banana bread at the end.

    >> i have fresh spinach and i serve it with tomato and garlic on grilled bread or pain tomat. you want something crusty, hearty. it's a nice country bread. there it is.

    >> fantastic.

    >> let's get to dessert. i' you're hungry.

    >> before that, i love vegetables. this is a grilled zucchini.

    >> i also lived in israel and my mother was never one to serve mac & cheese . she always made us eat zucchini.

    >> that's a substitute for mac & cheese .

    >> my mother made us eat it when we were growing up which i didn't appreciate. this is a tribute to my mother and my time in israel . it's tahini, pomegranates and walnuts. crisp, fresh and delicious.

    >> and this.

    >> my mom's chocolate banana loaf.

    >> look at this.

    >> it's perfect for breakfast.

    >> fantastic.

    >> this is also a loaf my mother made. you make it your own. i make it with whole wheat so it's a little bit more healthy. chocolate ganache and ripe banan bananas. do you want to taste?

    >> i would love to.

    >> it's a recipe that you don't think much of when you're young and you grow up and realize it's one of the best comfort foods of all.

    >> fabulous! it's great. a lot of this is in the book.

    >> they are in the book. i have an article in " food & wine " magazine about healthy recipes i eat on my time off.

    >> not including that.

    >> no. but other great things. it's all about talking with

TODAY recipes
updated 2/20/2012 2:12:32 PM ET 2012-02-20T19:12:32

Recipe: Chickpea, artichoke and spinach stew

Ingredients
  • 2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 pound soft cooked chorizo, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • One 28-ounce can diced Italian tomatoes, juices reserved
  • 3 large artichokes, trimmed, hearts quartered and reserved in lemon water
  • 2 teaspoons sweet pimentón
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • Coarse salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound spinach, thick stems discarded
  • Pan con tomate
  • 8 slices thickly cut country bread
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and slightly crushed
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, quartered
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Preparation

In a medium saucepan, cover the chickpeas with 2 inches of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the chickpeas are tender, about 2 hours. Add water as necessary to maintain level.  Drain the chickpeas and set aside.

In a medium, heavy pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook over medium-low heat until onion is translucent, about 7 minutes. Add the chorizo and cook until just beginning to brown and oils have been released, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until sizzling, about 4 minutes. Add the artichoke hearts, pimentón, and bay leaf; cook for 5 minutes. Add chickpeas, then reduce heat to low and pour in reserved tomato juices and chicken stock. 

Bring stew to a boil, adjust seasonings as desired with salt and pepper, and simmer until artichoke hearts are cooked through, about 30 minutes. 

Just before serving, stir in the spinach and cook until wilted, about 5 to 7 minutes. Serve with slices of pan con tomate (recipe below).

Pan con tomate:  Toast or grill bread. Rub garlic over warm bread. Grate the tomatoes on a box grater, then spread the grated seeds evenly over the bread. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Serving Size

4 servings

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