It's snowing in Cleveland and I need to put together dinner for my consulting team - something warm and delicious that will keep them at the table for a while and let them forget about their computers upstairs and the snow outside. I wanted to make an authentic Spanish chickpea chorizo cocido (stew), but:
A. I can't find REAL Spanish ham (pata negra or a hunk of Serrano) on the bone.
B. I didn't have any homemade chicken stock in my hotel room refrigerator.
C. It's too late to soak my chickpeas overnight.
D. I am not in sunny Spain and it just isn't the same.
However, with a few substitutions this version should be very good in its own right!
I am not going to call it a "dumbed down" version, just because it doesn't take all day to make - I actually think of it as "smartened up!" I used canned chickpeas, a box of chicken stock, and Serrano ham in the package. Luckily, my market has authentic Spanish chorizo. I made this soup/stew in less than an hour.
This is the perfect cold weather soup/stew. The heat from the chorizo opens your sinuses and this makes for a wonderful hearty winter meal.Spanish Chickpea & Chorizo Soup
6 oz. chorizo sausage, finely chopped
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 lb fresh spinach, washed and chopped (or whole leaf frozen spinach)
8 fresh tomatoes, seeded and roughly chopped (or 24oz. can of plum tomatoes)
1 15oz can or jar of good-quality cooked chickpeas, drained
4 cups chicken stock
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2oz pata negra, Spanish Serrano ham (or prosciutto), finely chopped
extra virgin olive oil
2 hard-boiled eggs
Put a couple of tablespoons of olive oil into a large pot and add the chorizo. Allow to heat up and cook for a couple of minutes until the fat comes out of the chorizo, then add your onion, garlic and celery. Cook for about 10 minutes.
Stir it around and get some color happening.
Add your spinach, tomatoes, chickpeas and chicken stock. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for around 40 minutes.
At this point you can remove about a third of the mixture and purée it in a food processor (I did not bother as I also don't have a blender in my hotel room...).
Pour it back into the pot, give it a good stir and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Remove from the heat and stir in the pata negra or ham and 2 or 3 tablespoons of good Spanish extra virgin olive oil. Divide into bowls and grate some hard-boiled egg on top.
Cook's Notes: In Spain, many places grate a hard boiled egg on top of the cocido. Don't skip this garnish, it's almost like putting a dollop of ricotta on bolognese sauce, or sour cream on top of chili, or ranch dressing with hot wings. You get my drift?