Chickpea Stew with Ham - Cazuela de Garbanzos

     I had cooked some chickpeas the other day for my vegetarian son to use for Hummus. They were not used for that, tho I did make a version of Hummus using garlic, onion, coriander, parsley and just a bit of ginger. Not bad, but I am not a huge fan of garbanzos. So of course, having cooked beans in my 'fridge that I did not want to go to waste (and having no spare freezer space, and even tho I'm not crazy about them), I started searching for recipes using these wrinkled beans. I settled on a South American recipe, with a few changes. It turned out quite well, even I liked the dish, garbanzos and all.
                                                 Chickpea Stew with Ham
recipe from The South American Table by Maria Baez Kijac
2T oil
1c onion, minced
1/2c chopped green pepper
4 cloves minced garlic
2 large, ripe firm tomatoes - I used paste tomatoes that I had frozen
(2T tomato paste, if your tomatoes haven't much flavor)
1 bay leaf
1tsp salt
1/2tsp black pepper
21/2c cooked chickpeas - or 2 15 oz can
2c water - i used less, for a thicker stew
2 medium potatoes, cubed
8oz winter squash  peeled,seeded,cubed
8oz well washed spinach leaves - I don't like cooked greens of any kind, so i served these on the side, plain
8oz ham ( polish sausage would also work, the recipe says. I think the ham is way better)
2T fresh parsley for garnish

In a heavy pot or casserole, heat oil and add onions, peppers and garlic. Cook, with occasional stirring, about 5 minutes until onion is soft. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer until the tomatoes have formed a sauce, about 10 minutes.Add the chickpeas and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, add potatoes and cook 10 minutes. Add squash and cook until fork tender, about 10 minutes more. Add spinach and ham, mix well and simmer about 5 minutes. This stew should have some sauce, but not be too soupy. Discard bay leaf, taste for salt and pepper. Serve hot.

     I hope to make some hot pepper sauces to go with the leftovers from this stew. I'm shooting for making them tomorrow. I'll post them when I taste them.

Please excuse more for now, my cat is fishing and needs rescuing before the fish get him! Bye.