I apologize for my prolonged absence. Or rather, I am sorry I had not had time to write, but I am not sorry for the reasons – being busy happens to all of us, and I am no exception. In consolation, I bring you chickpeas with chorizo sausage and chili in sherry sauce – a meal that is not only pretty to look at and easy to make, but is very rich in fiber, and also happens to be one of my most favorite things to eat. One of my many favorite things to eat, but still!
Warning to the timid – this is not food for the faint of heart, as it packs not only a good amount of heat from the fresh chili, but a flavor punch that will be there whether you are as chili-happy as I am or not. But if you love Mediterranean food in general, and garlic and chili in particular, then I urge you to make this – you will not have any regrets!
Recently, due to the impending summer and the need to look great in a swimsuit in Barcelona come July, I have been on a lose-weight track. Which, for me, translates to tossing sugar and avoiding refined carbohydrates – I guess it is a personally-designed permutation of a LCHF eating style. Chickpeas (along with other legumes), due to their high fiber and protein content, are an ideal solution when you (me in this case) are tired of the green salad and a piece of random protein, or want a bit of comfort food without the sugar high.
I would even go as far as to say that unless you are one of those people who definitely dislike legumes, this is a meal you need to make because it really compromises on nothing – from flavor, to its nutritional content, to the ease of preparation and the beautiful presentation, it wins on all points – at least it does for me.
I won’t lay any claims to the Spanish authenticity of this dish, nor, indeed to its authenticity in any cuisine, except that it is authentically inspired by the flavors of Spanish tapas, and more than one ingredient in it is Spanish, which to me justifies the Spanish-inspired claim.
Another plus of this is that most of the ingredients are storecupboard staples and can be easily kept on hand – chickpeas keep virtually forever if dried (or canned), and for a week or so in the fridge if cooked, and raw chorizo keeps in the cold meat part of the fridge for weeks. And I am the sort of person who has onions, garlic and chilies on hand more or less at any time – though should you find yourself lacking garlic or chili, a bit of garlic granules or chili flakes won’t ruin this dish. However, I’d urge against substituting both and/or onions with dried products – the quick preparation and the simple composition of this means that fresh ingredients really do shine – and removing or substituting more than one of them does take its toll.
Anyway – here’s what you need to make your own
if when you decide to make it:
Feeds 2 hungry people
- 2 cups of chickpeas, cooked. You can use canned (drained and rinsed) chickpeas, but I cook my own from dry which in my view results in much better flavor. However, if you really can’t be bothered, 2 cans of chickpeas will do.
- 1-2 links raw chorizo sausage, cut into small quarter-circles
- 1 red onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 large red chili, deseeded and chopped
- 3-4 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped finely
- 1/2 teaspoon of sweet or hot paprika powder (go with sweet if you are worried about too much heat, but I use hot)
- 1 tomato, chopped into small bits
- Extra-virgin olive oil, a generous slug
- 1 sprig of rosemary, leaves torn off and chopped
- 75-100ml sherry – dry or medium. I use Amontillado, which I keep on hand for cooking in general – it’s amazing in cream sauces, and anything to do with mushrooms, too.
- Sea salt (ground or flaked) to taste
What to do:
- Heat up your generous amount of oil in a saute pan to medium-high heat. Reduce heat a little (5-6/9 for me).
- Toss in the onions and fry them until they are translucent and just begin to color. Move to the side and add chorizo sausage. Fry for a few minutes until the oil colors red from the paprika in the sausage, and sausage looks about 2/3 done.
- Move sausage over to the onions and sprinkle the paprika powder on the sausage area. Add the chili to the pan and fry until it turns bright orange (a minute or so).
- Add garlic and fry just until it goes bright white and aromatic. Add chopped tomato and cook a further few minutes until it is softened and heated through, then add chickpeas and mix everything thoroughly.
- Add the sherry, stir and cover, allowing the flavors to mingle for a few minutes, and the sauce to reduce. Season with salt to taste.
- Serve in bowls, sprinkled with some fresh chopped rosemary or thyme.
In my opinion, this can make a lovely festive dinner if paired with a bit of green salad and a glass of good wine of your liking. And some crusty bread if you aren’t avoiding it like I am. Just saying.