Jumat, 26 November 2010

Spanish Chickpea and Chorizo Stew

This is the kind of food that is perfect for this time of the year. Rich and earthy with chunky pieces of chorizo and tiny meatballs simmering in a paprika flavored comforting broth: this stew is everything an autumn family meal should be. I added one Russet potato to make it a whole meal itself. It is equally tasty with the Chorizo alone. Just skip the meatball part and increase the amount of chorizo to ten or twelve ounces.

Chickpea Stew with Chorizo and Meatballs
(The new Spanish table)
serves 4 or 5

For the Chickpeas
1 cup dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans), soaked
1 bay leaf
6 oz. sweet Spanish-style chorizo sausage

For the Meatballs
2 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
10 oz ground pork (not too lean)
1/4 grated onion
1 small egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp. coarse salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
Olive oil

For Finishing the Stew
2 Tbs Olive Oil
1 medium-size onion, finely chopped
1 medium-size carrot, finely chopped
4 medium-size garlic cloves, chopped
2 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon smoked sweet Spanish paprika
3 Tbs finely chopped fresh flat-lea parsley
Sea Salt
1 Russet Potato cut into small dices (optional)

1. Prepare the chickpeas: Place the chickpeas in a heavy 4 - 5 quart pot, add cold water to cover by 2 inches, and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the bay leaf, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, partially covered, for 1 hour, periodically replenishing the liquid with more water.

2. After 1 hour, cook the chorizo in boiling water for 2 minutes and drain it. Add the chorizo to the chickpeas and continue cooking until the chickpeas are tender but still a little al dente, about 30 minutes longer, adding more water to maintain the level of liquid.

3. While the chickpeas are cooking, make the meatballs: Place the bread in a small bowl, add cold water to cover, and let soak for 5 minutes. Drain and squeeze out the excess liquid, then finely crumble the bread. Place the bread, pork, onion, egg, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Gently knead the meatball mixture with your hands just until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined. If the mixture is too moist to form into meatballs, refrigerate it for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

4. Preheat the oven to 425 F.

5. With oiled hands, shape the mixture into meatballs the size of a cherry tomato. Arrange the meatballs on a baking sheet and bake, shaking the pan once or twice, until they are lightly browned and firm to the touch, about 12 minutes. Set aside until ready to use.

6. To finish the stew: Heat the olive oil in a medium-size skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion, carrot, and half of the garlic and cook until soft but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, cover the skillet, and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the paprika, stir for a few seconds, then stir the tomato mixture into the chickpeas. Cook the stew until the chickpeas are very tender, 15 to 20 minutes longer ( add the potatoes if using).

7 . Using as slotting spoon, transfer the chorizo to a cutting board, cut it into 1/2 inch slices and return them to the pot. Gently stir in the meatballs and simmer them in the stew for about 5 minutes.

8. Place the remaining garlic, the parsley, and a pinch of salt in a mortar and, using a pestle, crush them to a paste. Stir the parsley mixture into the stew and let it cook until all the flavors meld, about 5 minutes. Let the stew cool for about 5 minutes, then ladle it into bowls and serve.

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