Last year was the second year that my husband took a group of Arizona State University students on a summer abroad program, to his hometown of León, Spain. Lucky me, I went along, although separate from the program. The students have an incredible time learning about the Spanish language, food, architecture, art, and people. They are immersed in the culture because they live with Spanish families who care for them, and the program organizes activities for them to make the study abroad a meaningful experience.
My husband, Carlos used to participate in a program in which the students lived in dorms, or apartment/hotels. One of the things that we really notice in the new setting is that students really appreciate Spanish food. From day one, they eat the mid-day main meal with the family. They observe that life in a small town of 150,000 virtually shuts down for a couple of hours while everyone goes home to eat the main meal and rest before heading back to work. They eat things that many of them have never eaten, or have eaten little of. Spaniards frequently eat fish, occasionally, squid and octopus, and they like cured meats, and freshly baked bread daily.
The family “mom” may take the student to the outdoor vegetable market for their produce. In most homes, the students learn what real food, or slow food, is about. It’s real food, bought locally, and prepared at home, and in most cases tastes delicious (every country has their bad cooks).
Today’s recipe is dedicated to Samantha Velez, who keenly observed that regarding food, in Spain “there is a time and a place.” Samantha loves garbanzo beans (Spanish word for chickpeas), tomatoes and tuna, so I thought she’d love this recipe, too.
Cook Time: 30 minutes in a pressure cooker, or 1 hour 15 minutes on the stove.
Total Time: 9 hours and 15 minutes (this includes pre-soaking the beans)
1 pound dried chickpeas
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
½ teaspoon sweet Spanish paprika (optional), or ¼ teaspoon Saffron (also optional)
2 cans tuna fish (7 ounces), drained; or, 10 to 12 ounces fresh tuna, chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
4 tablespoons minced flatleaf parsley
Salt to taste
1. Pre-soak the beans overnight, or at least 8 hours
2. Heat the olive oil in large pot and begin to sauté the onions. After 5 minutes, add the garlic and continue to sauté for 3 to 4 minutes.
3. Add the Spanish paprika, if you are using it, and the tomatoes and let it cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Add the pre-soaked chickpeas, the tuna fish, and 2 tablespoons of the minced parsley. Reserve the remaining parsley for garnish. Add enough water to cover the beans by and inch and cook until the beans are tender. You may need to add water from time to time. When they are close to being done, add salt to taste.
*Note – If you are using a pressure cooker, they will take about 30 minutes on Medium to medium-low heat.
To serve – ladle into soup bowls and garnish with the remaining parsley.
This recipe is also posted at Slightly Indulgent Tuesday