Acelgas con Garbanzos (Swiss Chard Stew with Chickpeas)

Hélène Jawhara Piñer
Recipe by
Hélène Jawhara Piñer

Swiss chard and chickpeas are two of the ingredients frequently used in adefina recipes prepared by Sephardic crypto-Jews for Shabbat. In an Inquisition trial record from July 13, 1590, we learn that Catalina Albarez, a conversa, prepared a dish with meat (from which she had carefully removed the fat), Swiss chard, and chickpeas.

The recipe below is the first one that my grandmother Ana Guillen Palma taught me.

1 ½ cup cooked chickpeas
1 bunch Swiss chard
1/8 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1⁄2 lb. beef steak (optional)
3 very thinly sliced onions
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
1 handful chopped cilantro

Wash the Swiss chard.

Separate the stems and leaves and peel the white stems with a vegetable peeler. Cut into finger-width sections and remove the larger white veins from the leaves. Cook the leaves in salted boiling water for 10 minutes. Take them out of the water and squeeze them in a drainer so the water comes out. Cook the white stems the same way, then set them aside. Put the olive oil, onions, garlic, salt, and pepper into a frying pan. If using meat, cut it into slices and add it to the pan now. Add the cooked chickpeas and cook for five minutes on medium heat.

Add the Swiss chard leaves and the stems. Cover and cook on low heat for five more minutes.

Sprinkle with the chopped cilantro and serve.