Chickpeas, Spinach and Pancetta

Inspired by Catalan cooking, this recipe from Barrafina combines chickpeas, spinach and pancetta. Add a dash of olive oil and serve with crusty bread.

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When we opened our first restaurant, Fino, we had this Catalan classic on the menu and it has remained there and at Barrafina ever since. It is a rustic, peasanty sort of dish that is very soothing and contains everything you could need for a light meal. Make sure the chickpeas are cooked until they are very tender so they absorb all the flavours.

Serves 4 as a Light Main


240g dried chickpeas, soaked in water overnight and drained
4 bay leaves, fresh if possible
1 large onion, peeled and cut in half
12 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
240g smoked pancetta, cut into 1cm lardons
1 large shallot, peeled and finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
500ml chicken stock
300g baby spinach leaves
Maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper


Put the drained chickpeas into a large pan with the bay leaves, onion and plenty of water. Bring to the boil, then cook for 45 minutes or until the chickpeas are tender. Drain the chickpeas, discarding the bay leaves and onion, and set aside to cool.

Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan or heavy-bottomed frying pan over a high heat until almost smoking. Add the pancetta and cook until it starts to caramelize. Add the shallots and garlic and cook gently for 2 minutes.

Add the chicken stock to the pan and simmer until it has reduced by half. Add the chickpeas, reduce the heat and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the spinach and cook for a further 30 seconds, folding the leaves in gently.

Drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper if necessary. Serve with crusty sourdough bread.

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