February 26, 2010 · 17 comments

A Broken Promise

in Meat,Soup

After Christmas I made a promise to myself that I would resist buying more cookery book until I had sorted and organised the rather mammoth collection I already own. Well, a couple of weeks back I broke that promise. How could I resist Jose Pizarro’s stunning book, Seasonal Spanish Food?

Pizarro’s debut explores the regions of Spain and is embellished with lovely anecdotes about the rural upbringing of the author — the chef behind the esteemed London tapas restaurant, Brindisa.

Pizarro’s infectious enthusiasm for Spanish cooking permeates every page. His message couldn’t be simpler — use fresh, good-quality, seasonal ingredients and they will speak for themselves.

You might not be familiar with Pizarro but the fact that the Spanish Ambassador offered him the Embassy in which to hold his launch party tells you all you need to know about the regard in which he is held by his countrymen.

One of the recipes that stood out immediately was Chickpeas with Chorizo. Pizarro describes this as a cross between a soup and a stew but I decided to keep it soupier, adding extra stock.

The chorizo I used came from Unearthed – a lovely and much appreciated free sample! Unearthed cooking chorizo is a spicy Spanish pork sausage with paprika and garlic, sourced very near Barcelona.

The original chorizo probably was invented in Extremadura, which is hardly surprising given that the monks in that region were one of the first to cultivate the peppers brought back from Mexico.

Chorizo is a pork sausage that has been spiced and marinated, then cured for a varying amount of time. The key ingredient is the pimenton, of which there are varying degrees of spice/heat and the type used varies from region to region.

Chorizo, as with all meats, depending on whether you buy it from a specialist shop, or a supermarket, will vary enormously in taste, texture and quality, but can be relied on to send waves of vibrant, husky warmth through a cheap bean or dried pea stew. What I’m trying to say here, is buy the best chorizo you can afford, the rest of the ingredients are cheap and cheerful so splash out on the most vital of ingredients.

While I’m on my soap box about buying good quality ingredients, I might as well mention that I would recommend fresh home-made chicken stock here, or at a pinch a tub of fresh stock from the shops. Please no stock cubes here.

As per my usual preference I used dried chickpeas which I soaked overnight. Jose also recommends doing this, as the flavour of tinned chickpeas is never as good as dried and they are such a prominent feature of this dish it would be such a shame to make do with inferior quality/flavoured goods.

Chickpeas have two lovely qualities that make them suit rustic, slow cooking — their near-indestructibility and an agreeably knobbly feeling in the mouth. They also have a lovely nutty flavour which works so well against the spicy, paprika notes of the chorizo and of course the rust coloured stock in which it all sits amicably.

A quick and hearty soup, which should be on the table in about an hour, for most of which time it can sit unattended, with just the occasional stir to see how it is getting on. It is also delicious reheated, so perfect for lunch the next day too. Some crusty bread wouldn’t go amiss but it is by no means essential.

Chickpeas with Chorizo

  • 300g dried chickpeas
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 300g fresh, spicy, chorizo, chopped
  • 250g dry cured bacon, cubed
  • 900ml chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • black pepper
  1. Soak the chickpeas in lots of cold water overnight (a minimum of 6 hours is required, but longer is better)
  2. Heat the oil in a saucepan and lightly fry the chopped garlic, onion and carrots. When the vegetables are golden add the chorizo and bacon, sauté until lightly browned and the chorizo is purging itself of the rusty, red tinged oils.
  3. Add the stock and bay leaf. Bring to the boil, add the chickpeas and cook for about an hour on a simmer. While the chickpeas are cooking skim off any foam or excess fat that comes to the surface.
  4. Once the chickpeas are soft but not mushy, season with black pepper to taste (personally I wouldn’t add salt to this dish).
  5. Top up with boiling water or stock if you require a soupier consistency.
  6. Serve, drizzled with a little extra virgin olive oil and scattered with fresh parsley if wished.
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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Anna February 26, 2010 at 13:02

That looks good George!

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yvonne February 26, 2010 at 14:43

Looks gorgeous! I understand the cookbook thing – it’s like an illness! I can’t stop buying them!

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George@CulinaryTravels February 26, 2010 at 17:54

Thanks Yvonne. This cookbook addiction thing seems to be very common – good to know I’m not alone.

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George@CulinaryTravels February 26, 2010 at 17:54

Thank you Anna!

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Sarah, Maison Cupcake February 26, 2010 at 18:48

As a fellow cook book addict myself I am not one to judge if you’ve broken your promise.

Chickpeas look very tasty, I don’t eat chorizo very often but I like the look of these unearthed sausages.
.-= Sarah, Maison Cupcake´s last blog ..Half Term Hangover, Weaning Joys, Ottolenghi and H2OPE for Haiti =-.

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arista February 26, 2010 at 21:41

I love the flavour chorizo adds – I’ve only recently started using it in my cooking. This soup sounds great!

I have to confess to being a stock powder and tinned chickpea girl so far – although hope to occasionally step out of this to see what difference it makes!
.-= arista´s last blog ..Blueberry Buttermilk Muffins (another version) =-.

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Cahide(Turkish food) February 27, 2010 at 05:33

Nefis görünüyor!
.-= Cahide(Turkish food)´s last blog ..Piramit salatas? =-.

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Lori February 28, 2010 at 16:25

I have this same addiction. You think with all these recipes on the internet that I wouldnt need them. But there is something special about curling up with a cookbook and dreaming of future meals.

This looks really good. What reall grabbed my attention about this dish was the color of it. How did it get so red?
.-= Lori´s last blog ..Daring Bakers: Tiramisu =-.

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Kelly-Jane March 2, 2010 at 13:35

I’d say you did really well to get through January without buying any new ones! Unearthed sent me some samples too, I liked them a lot.
.-= Kelly-Jane´s last blog ..Daring Baker February 2010 =-.

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George@CulinaryTravels March 6, 2010 at 16:34

The Unearthed food really is lovely isn’t it. I’m glad you enjoyed too.

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Roberto March 12, 2010 at 05:26

Looks perfect!

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George@CulinaryTravels March 12, 2010 at 10:07

Thank you!

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Ricky April 7, 2010 at 14:03

Broken promise maybe, but so worth it judging by the look of your meal.

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George@CulinaryTravels April 7, 2010 at 17:23

Yes, very much worth it – the book is superb.

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Carla April 30, 2010 at 05:42

Lovely, warming and comforting dish – perfect.

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George@CulinaryTravels May 4, 2010 at 10:30

Thanks Carla.

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