27 February 2012

Espinaca con garbanzos...

...and sausage from Toulouse. Saucisse de Toulouse is made with plain, unsmoked pork (lean and fat, of course). Because the sausage is seasoned only with salt and pepper, it's kind of a blank slate you can use with all sorts of flavoring ingredients and seasonings. Toulouse and Montbéliard, which is smoked, are two of the tastiest French sausages.

Espinaca con garbanzos — spinach and chickpeas — is a Spanish concoction served evidently in tapas bars as a kind of spread on bread. At least that's what I've read and been told. Walt has made it before, a couple of times. This last time, we added the Toulouse sausages, poached and then cut into thick slices. The spinach-chickpea mixture became a main course.

Spinach, chickpeas, Toulouse sausage, spices, and garlic

Besides the spinach (fresh or frozen, pre-cooked) and chickpeas (out of a can or dried, cooked), the dish depends on a thickening sauce made with bread crumbs, garlic, tomato sauce, herbs, olive oil, and a little bit of vinegar. Brown the bread crumbs and chopped or pressed garlic in olive oil, and then add just a little tomato sauce and vinegar so that you have a thick paste.

Herbs and spices to use are cumin, paprika (smoked, hot, or sweet), thyme, rosemary... whatever you like... along with salt and pepper. A squeeze of lemon juice at the end will freshen it up. Serve it hot, warm, or even cold. This is not so much a recipe as an idea that you can customize.

Here's a link to the recipe that Walt says he found and followed, and that we really like.


  1. Toulouse Sausages "only seasoned with salt and pepper"? They have quite a quantity of garlic in them, too... or the ones we get do... both here [and autre fois in the UK], we have had to "double bag" them to stop them running wild in the fridge.
    Looks a lovely recipe for a cold morning such as this [minus 2.2°C here!]

  2. Tim, as far as I can tell, true Toulouse sausages don't have garlic in them. The ones I buy have none. See the French Wikipedia article about themingrédients : gras et maigre de porc, sel et poivre. Imagining everything in France is full of garlic is kind of a British way of viewing things! LOL. Don't know what sausages you are buying, of course.

  3. We first had this dish here in Sevilla a year ago and fell in love with it. Yours looks different from what we're used to here -- much more aesthetically pleasing and I'm sure it has your special French touch. Either way, a delicious combination of flavors.

  4. We're having something with Italian sausages tonight (and red bell peppers, and squash), but I like the idea of the beans :))

  5. This was one of my favorites when we were in Spain. Looks yummy.

  6. Try the Cooks Thesaurus [http://www.foodsubs.com/MeatcureSausage.html] who says:
    Toulouse sausage Pronunciation: too-LOOZ Notes: This exquisite French sausage is usually made with pork, smoked bacon, wine, and garlic. It's a great sausage for a cassoulet. Or Epicurious [http://www.epicurious.com/tools/fooddictionary/entry?id=4985] A small French sausage made of coarsely diced pork flavored with wine, garlic and seasonings. Toulouse sausage is usually braised or fried.
    Now, those are both American sites from my favourites list... perhaps that's where the other ingredients come from... the only Toulouse soss we've bought here came from Lidl and were to the above ingredient list.

  7. Tim, true Toulouse sausage should be just lean and fat pork plus salt and pepper. We don't have Lidl here in Saint-Aignan. I've bought so-called Toulouse sausages at Netto and at Grand Frais, and they have not been good.

    Our SuperU in Saint-Aignan doesn't sell Toulouse; they have sausages with herbs and maybe garlic in them that they make in the butcher shop (I believe). They're not bad but they are not Toulouse sausages.

    I wouldn't trust American recipes for Toulouse sausages. American recipes usually have far too many ingredients in them, for whatever it is.

    I do like the Toulouse sausages sold under the Louis d'Armel brand at Intermarché, even though they have ingredients like dextrose, preservatives, etc. in them. Even in charcuteries in France nowadays, you can't depend on getting shop-made sausages and pâtés. Much of what is sold is "manufactured" industrially and then packaged and sold as "home-made." I thought about that when S. said the charcutier gives away the terrines that pâtés are displayed in. How could they give that crockery away if they were not buying ready-made pâtés from big suppliers. They have so many terrines that they don't know what to do with them...

  8. Very true... often food gets strangely altered when other nationalities decide to 'copy' them to their assumed taste!
    Our boucherie makes almost all their own terrines... but I am sure buys in the rillettes. The terrines are usually in old, glass dishes that have been in the oven many times [you know the black bits that seem to weld to the edge of Pyrex... or in this case probably Duralex!]... and no one really has the equipment to make good large batches of rillette on a small shop scale. The terrines they buy in [I think] tend to be heavily decorated on the top... the ones I think are home made tend to have a couple of Bay leaves in the aspic or to be wrapped in Caul.


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