Pan-fried Chickpeas with Chorizo and Spinach

I know. I know. I get it. I’m a flaky, good-for-nothing butthead. But seriously guys, ME SO BUSY!!! Between the inexorable schoolwork and the fruitless job hunting, I’ve let the blog fall by the wayside. I haven’t even had a chance to cook, let alone flog.

Alright, enough with the apologies. Let’s get to the meat of this article. What meat you ask? Chorizo! Chorizo is a heavily seasoned, spicy sausage. It’s Spain’s answer to the Polish sausage. Most of the chorizo you’re gonna get is cured, so the sausage is ready to eat. But this is Chorizo, not some run-of-the-mill Slim Jim. It’s distinctive flavor (which comes from Pimentón—Spanish Paprika) adds incredible depth to a dull dish.

Fried Chickpeas and Chorizo! This recipe comes from Mark Bittman’s “The Minimalist” segment on “The New York Times.” This dish is pretty straightforward, and requires no extra seasoning, thanks to the deep flavor of the sausage. The crunchy breadcrumbs and crisp chickpeas contrast well with the soft spinach. The recipe only called for 4 ounces of Chorizo, so I had leftover chorizo to put in my eggs the next morning. As the Spainards would say, está para chuparse los dedos.

On the topic of Spain, I’ve decided to study abroad next year for both semesters. While there, I will flog about Spain’s food culture. My hope is to use my blog as a platform to discuss Spanish gastronomy, similar to David Lebovitz’s Parisian food blog. After all, I’m sure there’s a lot more to Spain than tapas…

Recipe courtesy of Mark Bittman’s The Minimalist (February 24, 2010)

Ingredients

1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 cups cooked or canned chickpeas, as dry as possible. We will be shallow-frying them, and we want them nice and dry before adding them to pan
Salt and black pepper
4 ounces chorizo*, diced
½ pound spinach, roughly chopped
¼ cup sherry
1 to 2 cups bread crumbs, enough to cover the dish.

1. Heat the broiler.

2. Put three tablespoons of the oil in an oven-proof skillet large enough to hold chickpeas in one layer over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add chickpeas and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

3. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until chickpeas begin to brown, about 10 minutes, then add chorizo. Continue cooking for another 5 to 8 minutes or until chickpeas are crisp; use a slotted spoon to remove chickpeas and chorizo from pan and set aside.

4. Add the remainder of the 1/4 cup of oil to the pan; when it’s hot, add spinach and sherry, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook spinach over medium-low heat until very soft and the liquid has evaporated. Add chickpeas and chorizo back to the pan and toss quickly to combine; top with bread crumbs, drizzle with a bit more oil and run pan under the broiler to lightly brown the top. This should take at most a minute. Mark says you can serve it either hot or at room temp, but I personally think it is far superior when served hot.

Yield: 4 servings. Great as a side dish or even a light main course.

*Note: I used the brand Palacio’s when choosing my chorizo. They carried it in spicy and non-spicy. Don’t be intimidated by the label—go with the spicy. The spinach and the chickpeas help to diminish the spiciness. I made the dish with someone with a low spice tolerance, and she was fine.

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