1-2 tsp harissa (from Planta) or any other hot sauce
1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, toasted
1 lemon, juice and zest
1 litres veg or chicken stock
30g broken spaghetti or vermicelli rice noodles (available from Grain Grocer or Planta)
1 smoked plaice or sole, or about 100-200g of any other smoked white fish (optional)
Two large handfuls of spinach leaves, roughly chopped if large
Fresh parsley, to garnish (optional)
Thick slices of Cafone from Bread Bread and Hook Butter, to serve (optional)
Boil your soaked chickpeas in enough water to cover, along with the bay leaves for 1 hour or until tender. Drain. Set aside.
Get a large lidded pot hot. Add a gloss of olive oil. Sizzle your onion over medium-low heat until glossy and tender. Swirl in a good hit of salt and pepper. Fold garlic and cumin through. Cook for a moment.
Fold in your tomato paste. Cook for a minute or two, to thicken. Dollop in the harissa (more or less, according to your heat tolerance). Tip in the chickpeas. Grate in the zest of your lemon and a good squeeze of juice. Top up with your stock. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Fold the noodles in.
Perch your fish, if using, on top of the stew. Pop the lid on. Let it steam for 15 mins. Remove lid. Fleck the flesh of the fish from the skin and bones. Keep it in big hunks, if possible.
Fold your spinach and fish through the stew, until just wilted. Taste. Adjust seasoning, adding more lemon, harissa, etc as needed.
Garnish with parsley if you like. Delicious served with hunks of buttered bread.
SPEED IT UP: Use a 400g of tinned chickpeas instead of dried.