Friday, January 2, 2009

Spiced Chickpeas with Chorizo and Broccoli - a New Year's Resolution

2009 has finally arrived, and frankly, I'm not sad to see the back of 2008! Now, after a party on New Year's Eve, and a refreshing and restorative walk in Richmond Park in the afternoon of New Year's Day, it is time to get down to some resolution making.

After stumbling across the Love Food - Hate Waste site a few days ago, where I was reminded that a third of all food bought in the UK is thrown away (I had heard this before) and that this is very bad for the environment as well as just plain wasteful and expensive, I realised that here was a resolution I could keep:

  • I resolve, in 2009, to waste less food

  • After my walk, I got home rather hungry and looked in an almost bare fridge. Some ancient broccoli and cauliflower which wouldn't have looked at all appetising just steamed, onions, garlic, chorizo, pesto and sundry other jars, mascarpone and parmesan and some yogurt and eggs I'm scared to look at the date on. No - I haven't cooked much in the last couple of months, hence the complete hiatus in posting here. Wanting something a bit more interesting and healthful than another bowl of pasta and pesto, I initiated a rummage through the store cupboard. Eureka - chickpeas! Filling but healthy, and can cope with a bit of spice, which I felt the need of after a walk in almost freezing temperatures. And so gradually, this dish was born. Instead of throwing the broccoli away, which I considered, it became the (almost) greenery in this. The first step in honouring my resolution!

    I ate this on its own, but if you need to bulk it up, because you have a bigger appetite or more mouths to feed, you could add bulgur wheat or couscous, or even rice or quinoa, either in the mix or as a bed to serve it on. Some dark leafy vegetables, kale say, would probably work too (as with the earlier Chorizo with Sherry and Tomatoes).

    For two smallish portions:
  • 150g chorizo
  • 1/2 large onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Pinch chilli flakes or hot hot chilli powder (or more to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable bouillon granules
  • Small head of broccoli
  • 1 can chickpeas, strained and rinsed
  • Hot water

  • Chop the chorizo into pieces a bit larger than a chickpea. Chop the onions. Place the chorizo in a dry deep frying pan over a medium heat. You should be able to render enough oil out of the sausage to coat the bottom of the pan and thus avoid the need to add any extra. Once you have a pan coated with bright orange oil, add the chopped onions and cook gently until translucent. Finely chop or mince the garlic cloves and add to the pan. Cut the broccoli into florets, and then chop these up roughly so they can be eaten in a bite with everything else. Add the spices, tomato puree, bouillon powder, broccoli and chickpeas to the pan with enough hot water to come a half centimeter or so up the sides. Stir thoroughly, bring to a simmer and put a lid on to steam the broccoli and heat the chickpeas. If your pan doesn't have a lid, add a bit more water and heat more vigorously. When the broccoli is al dente, taste and season as required, then serve in bowls and pat yourself on the back for not chucking the imperfect veg.