Catalan Chickpea & Chorizo Stew with Spinach
February 2, 2011
Aunt Suzy says . . .
The cold weather continues to drive us to make warming soups and stews. This flavorful stew is easy to make – even when cooking the beans from dried vs. opening cans. The basis for this stew is sofrito, a savory tomato base used in many Spanish dishes. It’s also at the foundation of a lot of Caribbean cooking, but it means something very different there. It makes me think I need to make a great Puerto Rican chicken dish I learned years ago using sofrito . . . but I digress! This is a beautiful-to-look-at dish as well as tasty. The original recipe was from a Food & Wine article on Familia Torres, a Catalan wine maker. Today we served this stew with their Sangre de Toro wine, one of my favorite inexpensive reds – delish! We loved the Arugula-Mint Salad from Sunday’s dinner so much that we’re having it again. It’s the perfect, refreshing foil for a rich stew.
2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked and drained
1/4 cup EV olive oil
1 onion, small dice
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained, reserving 1 cup of the juice
3 soft Spanish chorizo sausages, split lengthwise then sliced in 1/4-inch half moons
1/2 pound baby spinach, tough stems removed
Prepare the chickpeas: Place soaked beans in a pot with water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, turn down heat and simmer till done, about 2 hours. Drain the chickpeas, reserving 2 cups of the cooking water. Set aside both the cooked beans and the water. This can be done a day or two ahead of making the stew.
Prepare the stew: Place the olive oil in a Dutch oven and heat to medium high. Add the onion, rosemary and the bay leaf and saute, stirring constantly until soft. Add the garlic and stir for a minute or two until fragrant. Add the drained tomatoes, bring to a sizzle and cook, stirring, for another 5 minutes. Add the 3 cups total liquid (1 cup tomato juice and 2 cups bean cooking liquid), the cooked beans and the chorizo. Stir to blend, bring back to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. This can also be done a day or two ahead. The final step is to add the spinach, in 3 batches, stirring after each to blend. Simmer for about 10 minutes to wilt the spinach, but be careful that it doesn’t disintegrate from overcooking.
NOTES ON INGREDIENTS AND AMOUNTS: The dried chickpeas added up to 5 1/2 cups cooked. If you want to use canned chickpeas, you will need 3-4 15-ounce cans, drained and rinsed. If using canned, I recommend using 2 cups chicken stock in place of the bean cooking liquid. Make sure you are using (soft vs. dried) Spanish-style chorizo vs. Mexican. Spanish is fully cooked and Mexican is fresh. I used Chicken Chorizo from Trader Joe’s. The original recipe called for a pound of spinach, but I think this is a lot – use your judgment!