This recipe is reprinted with permission from Hélène Jawhara Piñer “Sephardi: Cooking the History.”
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, acelgas con garbanzos in Spanish, is the first one that my grandmother Ana Guillen Palma taught me.
Time: 30 minutes
1½ cup (200g) cooked chickpeas
1 bunch Swiss chard
⅛ cup (25g) olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
½ pound (220 g) beef steak (optional)
3 very thinly sliced onions
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 handful chopped cilantro
Wash the Swiss chard. Separate the stems and leaves and peel the white stems with the vegetable peeler. Cut sections the width of a finger. Take the leaves and remove the larger white veins. 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 in the same way, then set them aside.
Put the olive oil, onions, garlic, salt, and pepper into a frying pan. If using meat, add it to the pan now, cut into slices. Add the cooked chickpeas and cook for 5 minutes on a medium heat.
Add the Swiss chard leaves and the stems. Cover the frying pan and cook at low heat for 5 more minutes.
Sprinkle with the chopped cilantro and serve.