Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Garbanzos with Chorizo and Spinach

Beans and pork is a tried and true combination much loved across most of the country.  The possibilities are virtually  endless once you've moved beyond the backyard barbeque pinto beans and bacon.   This dish is much more stew like, with chunks of tender potato, ample bean and a healthy dose of smokey chorizo.  Wilted spinach added towards the end helps endow a sense of health and good eating.  And the best part?  The entire entree can be dished up in about thirty minutes.

I highly recommended the smoked Spanish-style of chorizo for this dish, though the raw nutmeg chili infused Mexican style will work as well.  I opted for Palacios mild versions...hot sausages are also available.

adapted from A recipe in Men's Health, December 2011

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The Ingredients:
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
2 links Spanish-style chorizo, chopped
1 large onion
2-4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp paprika (preferably pimenton)
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 lb yukon or russet potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 to 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2- 14 oz cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
salt and pepper to taste
8 cups baby spinach

The Process:
Heat the oil in a large pot or saucepan over medium heat.  Add the chorizo and saute until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.  Remove from the pant and set aside.

Add the onion, garlic, red pepper, and paprika to the pot and cook until the onion begins to caramelize.  Stir in the tomato paste and cook for another 2-3 minutes or until the paste evenly coats the onions.  Add the stock, potatoes, and bay leaves.  Reduce to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.

Add the Garbanzo beans and cook for another 5 minutes or until beans are heated through.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Remove the bay leaves and add the cooked chorizo and the baby spinach. Continue to cook until the spinach is wilted.

The Review:
Upon beginning to saute the chorizo, I would have thought the end result would be a greasy mess due to the red slick of fat that coated the saucepan. instead of the rich, smokey dish ultimately served up.  The meat was not a substantial part of the meal, quantity wise (though you could easily double or triple the amount if you are a huge fan of this Iberian treat) but it infuses smokey and slightly spicy nuances in every bite.  The potatoes and chickpea both lend a wonderful soft and velvety texture, but with enough difference to keep you from getting bored.  The contrast of something firm or with a little more bite was missing, but not by much.  The flavors more than make up for what the texture front may lack.  And the spinach...eight cups seems like a lot until the bunch cooks down.  The beautiful flecks of green amidst the deep red sauce made for an incredibly picturesque dish.  However, this one is so tasty you may polish it off before the camera had a chance.  Leftovers were just as wonderful the next day.

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