It has been a long week since we last posted with the website getting hacked and my computer getting a nasty handful of viruses that had Carlo pulling out what is left of his hair. Plus we had some friends in town, which meant we ate out and drank a lot this past weekend. So it felt really nice to get into the kitchen last night and make this hearty Spanish chickpea stew.
Both Carlo and I love all kinds of Spanish food, in particular tapas, but I’m a sucker for a good stew especially when it has chickpeas AND chorizo in it. The hardest part of this recipe is cooking the dried chickpeas, which is a bit time consuming, but you can do it the day before if you want. The end result is a complex stew with a nice smokiness from the paprika and a good contrast of textures between the soft meatballs and the nutty chickpeas. This recipe makes enough for 4 people at $2.66 per serving.
Chickpea Stew with Chorizo and Meatballs, adapted from The New Spanish Table
For the chickpeas:
1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight or quick-soaked
1 bay leaf
6 ounces Spanish chorizo, sliced
For the meatballs:
2 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
10 ounces ground pork
1/4 cup grated onion
1 egg, lightly beaten
sea salt and pepper
extra-virgin olive oil
For finishing the stew:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon smoked sweet Spanish paprika
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
sea salt and pepper
Prepare the chickpeas by placing them in a large pot and covering them with 2 inches of cold water. Bring the soaked chickpeas to a boil over a high heat. Add the bay leaf and then reduce the heat to low, and simmer, partially covered, for 1 hour. If the water level gets really low, add some extra water to the pot.
After 1 hour, add the sliced chorizo to the chickpeas and continue cooking until the chickpeas are tender but still have a bit of bite to them, around 30 minutes longer.
While the chickpeas are cooking, make the meatballs by putting the bread into a small bowl and covering the slices with cold water. Let the bread soak for 5 minutes, then drain and squeeze out the excess liquid. Finely crumble the bread and place it in a large bowl with the pork, onion, and egg. Gently knead the meatball mixture with your hands until all of the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Season with salt and pepper.
If the meatball mixture is too moist to form into meatballs, stick it in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour. Shape the meat mixture into meatballs the size of a cherry tomato. Heat up some olive oil in a frying pan and in batches, cook the meatballs until they are browned on both sides and pretty much cooked through. Remove the meatballs from the frying pan and set them aside until later.
In the pan with all the meatball drippings, cook the onion, carrots, and garlic over a medium heat until they are soft but not browned, around 5 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes then cover the frying pan, and let everything cook for another 5 minutes. Finish by stirring in the paprika.
By now, the chickpeas should be ready. There will still be some water left in the chickpea pot, and if you think it is too much, remove some of the cooking juice and reserve it in case you need to add it back later to the stew.
Add the tomato mixture to the chickpea pot and cook the stew over a simmer until the chickpeas are very tender, around 15 to 20 minutes longer. Add the meatballs at the end and simmer for another 5 minutes or so. Taste the stew and season with salt and pepper as needed.
To serve the stew, chop up some fresh parsley to sprinkle on top and enjoy.