Leek and Chickpea Stew

Leek and Chickpea Stew

A handful of spices and some cupboard canned tomatoes make a hearty stew, aromatic stew out of simple winter leeks.  Smoked paprika is the critical element here.  It adds a meaty, smoky flavor often lacking in vegetarian fare. 


  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed, if needed
  • ½ lb potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch slices
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for finishing
  • 2 medium leeks, white and pale green parts only, chopped in ½-inch pieces (clean your leeks of any sand or stones before chopping, save the green ends for stock)
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp oregano leaves, or 1 tsp dried 
  • 1 tbsp thyme leaves, or 1 tsp dried
  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 3-4 tsp sugar
  • ⅛ tsp cayenne
  • ⅛ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • ¾ cup vegetable or chicken stock
  • 12 strands of saffron, soaked in ¼ cup cool water (optional)
  • 1 cup canned whole tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tbsp sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar 
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Bring a medium pot of salted water to boil. Add the potato slices and cook until they're just tender, about 10 minutes.  Drain and allow to cool. 
  2. Heat 3 tbsp of olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add the leeks, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes.  Add the garlic to the skillet and cook for another 30 seconds or so. 
  3. Add the thyme, oregano, smoked paprika, cayenne, cloves, saffron with its water, tomatoes, stock, red wine, and vinegar.  Increase the heat to high and simmer for a few minutes.  Add the chickpeas and the potatoes to the pot.   Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook, covered with lid ajar, for about 10 minutes.
  4. Taste the stew and adjust the seasonings, then simmer for another 10 minutes.  At this point, the stew should be slightly thickened from the broken down potatoes. 
  5. Serve warm with a drizzle of olive oil and a few slices of good crusty bread.  
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