Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Recipe: Chickpea Stew with Spinach & Chorizo

Another Food & Wine gem. Chickpea stew with spinach and chorizo. It encompasses lots of food categories - the ubiquitous chopped onion, spicy meat, healthy greens, bright tomatoes, good beans - with just enough herbs to kick it into high gear. You can do without the bay leaf in a pinch, but you'll find the rosemary is absolutely necessary. As always, fresh is best if you can get it.

I pulled this recipe out of my October issue of Food & Wine back in 2005, and have been making it at least once a month during the fall and winter ever since. Being a stew, it just feels like a cold weather meal to me. The list of ingredients isn't long, and you can make it in about half an hour if you use canned (and rinsed) chickpeas instead of soaking dry beans overnight and simmering them for hours the next day. Normally I follow Food & Wine's recipes to the letter, but since chickpeas are kind of bland even when they're at their best, I haven't tasted much if any difference when I've used the canned beans.

My only other tip about this is that if you forget to cook the chorizo beforehand, you can cook it along with the onion as long as you stir frequently and don't burn it. I actually prefer to do it this way, because I omit the olive oil and cook the onions in the sausage grease instead. Make sure you get the soft sausage, in the link form, not the hard deli style chorizo. It really has a different flavor and consistency that melds well with the other ingredients in the stew.

Do yourself a favor: when you make this recipe, buy a big bag or bushel of fresh spinach, and after you make this heavy stew, use the remaining spinach in a salad the next day. That way, you can get a good contrasting use of the spinach, which is the healthiest part of the recipe.

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