Many cultures have traditional dishes, usually of peasant origin, that combine beans, legumes or pulses with sturdy greens to create a basic all in one meal. Most are quick to put together and inexpensive because there’s no big piece of meat to cook and if you use canned beans you can often assemble them in less than 30 minutes. This begins a series of Beans & Greens cookery starting with Migas.
There’s no hiding the peasant roots of Migas – humble, cheap and filling.
Migas means “crumbs” in Spanish. It’s a dish of Spanish and Portuguese origin that is mainly bread and, depending on where you are, additions of beans, chorizo, leafy greens, and maybe eggs. Mark Bittman refers to it as bread hash – start with left-over bread and stretch it with what you have on hand or what is local. I first made Migas from Bittman’s recipe in his Kitchen Express cookbook – basically bread, beans and greens. There’s no hiding the peasant roots of the dish in that version, humble, cheap and filling.
But I find Bittman’s version to be on the dry side and needing something. So I’ve evolved a version that’s still cheap and filling but with the addition of a little Spanish chorizo, a little tomato, some green seedless grapes and a fried egg on top that gives the dish added dimension. I should note that my version isn’t too much of a leap – among the many variations found in Spain, all those additions can be found although not all at the same time. I should also mention that there is a New-World version, a Tex-Mex dish made from crispy tortilla strips cooked in scrambled eggs that can include tomatoes, onions, Mexican chorizo, re-fried beans and cheese that obviously echos it’s Old World origins. The Tex-Mex version is said to be an excellent hang-over breakfast. The Spanish/Portuguese versions are also, often, eaten for breakfast – no hangover required. We eat it for dinner although I could easily get around it for breakfast.
2 large slices of country style bread, crusts removed, cut into 3/4″ cubes
1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), 16 oz., drained and rinsed
1 oz. Spanish chorizo, cut into 1/8″ matchsticks
1 bunch (about 8 oz) Swiss Chard leaves or other sturdy green cut into shreds
1/2 C. tomatoes, any kind, chopped
1/2 C. Green seedless grapes, cut into halves or quarter (if large)
1/2 Tbs Pimentón (Spanish sweet smoked paprika)
3/4 tsp ground cumin
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 eggs (optional)
In a large skillet or wok, saute the bread cubes over medium heat in 1 Tbs. of olive oil, stirring frequently, until golden and lightly crispy. Add pimentón, cumin, salt and pepper. Remove to a plate to cool, reserve.
In the same pan, saute the garbanzo beans over medium heat in 2 Tbs. olive oil, stirring from time to time, until the garbanzos take on a nutty color and are a little crispy/chewy on the outside. Add the chorizo and saute for an additional minute. Add the tomatoes and grapes and saute for a minute more. Add the Swiss Chard and continue to cook until the chard is wilted, adding a tablespoon or two of water to help steam the greens. Return the bread cubes to the pan, mix, remove from heat and set aside while you cook the eggs.
Fry the eggs in a little olive oil until done to your taste – we like ours with a runny yolk. Alternatively, you could poach the eggs.
Mound the bread/garbanzo mixture in a soup-plate and top with an egg.
Serves 2 for dinner or 4 as a first course.