I have not felt very relaxed over the last while. The world has seemed uncomfortably busy but it seems to be subsiding now. A comforting but easy dinner is always welcome at times like this and so this week I’m making chorizo, chickpea and pork stew.
Unfortunately my dear husband had some objections to the chorizo element. He has, with no justification, linked it to a rather unpleasant episode of discomfort last month. I’m positive, however, it was more likely to be the bug that took down at least 5 family members within a week.
Chorizo, as a charming young fellow I used to work with once informed me, is like bacon. It makes everything better. I agree whole-heartedly with this statement. Chickpeas are healthy thus making this a healthy meal and pork was added to lessen the chorizo blow for my husband.
This recipe, if it can be called such, is hugely adaptable depending on your mood and fridge. Sometimes I substitute chicken for pork and sometimes I don’t bother with an extra meat.
I actually first made this for my mum in an attempt to replicate a dish she often gets when we’re out for lunch. The original had Tuscan sausage and borlotti beans and was essentially Italian but since I had neither Tuscan sausage nor borlotti beans I decided to go Spanish instead.
The amount below is generous enough for two dinners and two modest lunches.
Chorizo 170g (give or take)
Onion 1 large
Garlic 1 large clove
Pork steak 100g (also give or take)
Marsala 1 healthy glug
Chopped tomatoes 1 tin
Chickpeas 1 tin
Put a large saucepan on a high heat. Slice the chorizo into 4mm slices and add it to the pan. Make sure it is in one layer, if possible, so it can all brown evenly. Fry away for about 5mins, occasionally flipping the slices over to cook both sides. If they start catching just turn the heat down to medium.
In the meantime slice the onion in half from tip to root. Peel. Put each half flat-side down on the chopping board and slice into 3mm slices along the short side. They should be little half moons once cut before they fall apart into little rainbows. Add them and the garlic clove (crushed) to the crisped chorizo and turn the heat down to medium low. Let them soften gently for 5mins at least, better if left for 10 but such patience takes ages.
Dice the pork into 2cm cubes.
Now, once the onions are soft pour them and the chorizo into a bowl and set aside. Put the pan back onto the heat and turn it up to high. Throw in the pork and brown it off nicely. It shouldn’t need any added oil as there should be a pleasing residue left from the chorizo. This browning will take about 2mins.
Pour in the marsala, which will bubble furiously, then pop the chorizo and onions back in the pan. Let there be no panic if you don’t have any marsala, it adds a beautiful sweetness but the dish is perfectly lovely without it.
Stir well and add in the passata and the tin of tomatoes. Pour the 50ml of water into the empty tomato tin and swirl around and then into the pan. This is to slacken the sauce slightly and to not waste the tomatoey goodness. Whilst I speak of tomatoes, passata and chopped tomatoes are my preferred combination but two tins of chopped or a combination of chopped/ cherry/ plum/ passata will all work well.
Let the pan of promise blip away on a medium low heat for 10mins.
Drain the chickpeas and add them to the pan. Let the newly chickpea-ed mix cook for a further 10-15mins. No worry if it cooks for longer it’ll only get lovelier. Before serving season well.
I didn’t, but if you’re of a mind it would be very nice to serve this stew with fancy bread. I hope it warms up your evening.