Cookbook Challenge: “Tapas: A Taste of Spain in America” Part 3
My third recipe was chosen because I had just about everything on hand and it looked easy. It is called the Moorish-style Chickpea and Spinach Stew (or garbanzo con espinacas). Some changes I made to the recipe were to swap the spinach for kale from my garden, and to use red wine vinegar instead of Spanish sherry vinegar. Also, I only had two cans of chickpeas, not three, so I used one cup of diced Kabocha squash to make up for the difference. I think the squash was a great addition and it even helped to slightly thicken the broth after simmering it for a while. The ingredient list was extremely doable and the instructions were easy to follow. This was hearty enough for meat eaters to not miss the meat, as well as being a pleasing main dish for vegetarians or vegans. You could easily toss in some shredded chicken or pork and use chicken broth if you wanted to make it more meat-based. I would definitely make this in the future and would probably add the squash again too.
Overall, this was my third successful dish from this book. Unfortunately, I had a hard time finding easy recipes that didn’t involve a trip to a specialty or gourmet grocery store. Some of the ingredients may be too expensive, and I would rather enjoy most of these tapas prepared for me at a restaurant. This cookbook has tapas recipes that would make great appetizers if you’re willing to put the work into it. I was on the fence about whether to kept it or not, and although I feel like I enjoyed everything I made, I just don’t see myself using it much. This one is getting donated.
*As far as the cookbook goes:
This book is a journey through Spain. There is nothing watered-down or subtle about it. It gets bonus points for authenticity and for the engaging photos that grace every recipe. Each recipe features a box at the bottom of the page called ‘Jose’s Tips’, and I recommend reading them before preparing the dish. Jose’s Tips are muy bueno and may save you a trip to an expensive gourmet grocery store or hours of extra work. The negative parts about the book are few, but this is probably the type of cookbook that most people buy after dining at a great tapas restaurant. That being said, it would be painstaking and labor-intensive to try to recreate a tapas-style meal for friends or family, even with this excellent book. I have tried to do this before, and it ends up being a very salty, olive-y experience that leaves some people still hungry. You would have to make 6-8 different tapas to recreate a tapas restaurant experience and it’s hard to figure out what everyone likes. I prefer to leave it to the experts and sip my red wine and chat with friends while letting someone else do all of the work.
If you feel like tapas should be on your menu or you just want to try something that makes you feel like a bullfighter, check out the book on Amazon.