Hearty spinach and chickpea gratin (20 mins prep/45 mins oven cooking)

If I had to describe this gratin (originally by Nigel Slater) in one word it would be hearty.  I’ve cooked it loads and love it!  It’s very nutritious but creamy enough to feel a bit indulgent, and has a lovely crunchy topping.

Serves 4 as main dish.

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Ingredients

Two cans of chickpeas
2 tbsp olive/other oil
3 red onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed/chopped
1 tbsp flour
450g ish of spinach
250ml veg or chicken stock
300ml crème fraîche
80g grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese (approx)
A few handfuls of breadcrumbs (I just put 2.5 pieces of bread in a blender)

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees/gas mark 4. Warm the oil in a pan, then add the onion and garlic. Leave them to cook, with the occasional stir, until they have softened and taken on a little colour, approx 10 mins. Stir in the flour.  Add the chickpeas, spinach, stock, crème fraîche, salt and pepper, then simmer for a few minutes.  Tip everything into a large baking dish or roasting tin. Strew with the grated cheese and breadcrumbs then cook for 45 minutes or so until a golden crust has formed.  If it looks cooked but the top needs to be more crunchy, just pop it under the grill for a couple of minutes!