Did someone declare it chorizo month? Was it actually me? I fear it was, and my fridge is full of the stuff. I bought lots of gorgeous cooking chorizo to bring home to my siblings a few weeks ago and in my rush to the airport forgot to bring it (sorry, if you are reading this, but it tasted really good, ahem).
My office / pantry / chaotic-room-full-of-stuff has lots of randomness purchased in London’s aladdin caves and brought home from my travels. So does my room. So does the kitchen. Every crack and cupboard is rammed full of something or other. Opening a cupboard door may result in an injury or it may provoke a gentle surprise when I am hit in the head by something fabulous that I forgot was in there. My task right now is to sort the whole mess out, which makes for great cooking.
Some of this mess right now is beans. Bags of them. Little ones, big ones, black ones, purple ones, speckled ones, white ones of all shapes and sizes. I love beans. All kinds. Spanish markets have a fantastic selection, and I went a bit crazy at the market in Seville loading my suitcase with all shapes and sizes. I am still making my way through them. Joyfully.
For this recipe, I pulled out my bag of Judion beans. Ta-da! Enormous and creamy, the skins are thick and the taste rich (for a bean). Beans are best cooked from dried, I find tinned and most jar ones soggy and limp. Why suffocate them for so long and kill the joy? It doesn’t take much effort to soak and boil them. They are best cooked not long after you have purchased them too, as they get quite tough as they age. These cooked quite quickly after an overnight soak, which is a testament to the quality of the produce at the market in Seville, as it is sometime since I bought them.
Cooking chorizo is soft and luscious. Spiked with paprika and creamy with fat, it goes with everything, but with these gargantuan white beans they are perfection. Have a look for some in your local deli, and failing that, you can buy cooking chorizo online from Brindisa (you can buy the judion beans there too). It is one of my favourite ones.
This is a great dish for this time of year and can be made in advance and served later for friends. It tastes better later too, so if you are organised, this is even more of a winner.
Recipe: Judion Bean & Chorizo Stew
Serves 3 – 4 (I ate it on my own for 3 days and didn’t get bored once ;)
400g cooked judion butter beans (or jarred if you can’t get any, substitute butter or cannelini too)
200g cooking chorizo, chopped into 1cm bits
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
3 sprigs rosemary, pines stripped of the branches and finely chopped
50g streaky bacon or pancetta
1 x 400g tin tomatoes
handful of flat leaf parsley, leaves chopped finely to garnish
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 tsp brown sugar
50g butter (optional but luxurious and I really need to stop doing this!)
Start your stew by sautéing the bacon and chorizo in their own fat until starting to brown / crisp.
Add the garlic and the rosemary and cook for a further minute before adding the chorizo, tomatoes and some water (fill the tomato tin up to about half way and that should be fine).
Add the sherry vinegar and brown sugar (the sugar to even out the tomatoes tinniness, and the vinegar for balance) and cook gently with the butter too if you are using it. Add more water if it seems to dry out, but you shouldn’t need to, unless your heat is quite high.
After 45 minutes, add the beans and heat through being careful not to break them. Taste, and adjust the seasoning if required (it really should be salty enough).
Serve with the chopped parsley on top, on its own, or on toast, however you like it, but most of all, enjoy it.