With the rise of tapas and other Spanish-inspired cuisine in the U.S. since 2000, many restaurants that focus on these delicacies have opened their doors in NYC and other North American urban centers. For a while, Michael and I were on a tear, trying to patronize as many different tapas restaurants as we could. For me, it was trying to gain a full understanding of Spanish food; For Michael, it was the desire to recreate the superb dining experiences he had while visiting Spain in ’04 and again in ’05. Then, about 5 or 6 years ago, I began to regularly prepare an improvised version of a classic southern Spanish recipe that combined chickpeas, baby spinach, Sherry, and the only Spanish chorizo sausage available in the U.S. at the time (cured and rather commercial in quality). The dish always came out good, but never great, and I eventually forgot about it.
Then recently, when visiting my new favorite Hudson Valley butcher shop, I acquired a few pounds of their house-made, uncured, uncooked pork chorizo with the expectation that I would add it to my potato & leek soup or create some sort of a fusion-ized pasta dish with it. But immediately upon unwrapping my bounty, that old chickpea recipe raced back into my brain after more than 4 years of dormancy. The goal was to recreate it….the right way.
As soon as I smelled the paprika-derived aromas wafting from the crumbled chorizo as it simmered in a pan, I knew the magic could finally be achieved. I wove in the other ingredients, did a little further improvisation, and within minutes the most exceptional Spanish-influenced meal I’ve ever created was on the table! I highly recommend creating it for yourself. See my recipe below, which includes the aforementioned house-made chorizo from Marbled Meat Shop. The next time you plan to be near Cold Spring, NY, reach out to Chris & Lisa to reserve your batch. Salud!
Chickpeas with Chorizo and Spinach
15 minutes. Main-course for 2 hungry people, or 6 to 8 small-plate servings.
2 Tbsp olive oil
10 oz Marbled Meat Shop chorizo (in bulk, not link form)
2 cloves garlic, minced
15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
¼ cup Spanish Fino Sherry
10 oz baby spinach (or regular spinach, chopped)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium flame. Add oil. When it starts to shimmer, crumble and add chorizo. Cook through, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 45 seconds. Add chickpeas, paprika and Sherry. Stir to coat chickpeas with oil and paprika (the most wonderful aromas will fill the kitchen at this point), and cook until chickpeas are just heated through, stirring frequently, about 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add spinach (in batches, if necessary), tossing to coat wilt. When the spinach is just wilted, remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice and zest. Serve immediately or let cool to room temperature to serve. For a twist, try it over jasmine rice, and pair it with either a dry Cava or a world-class Palo Cortado-style Sherry.