With plans to have dinner with our good friends Kristie and Aitor on Saturday, we browsed the cookbooks for meal ideas. With some inspiration in mind, we walked over to the co-op to see which recipe we would be able to pull off from the selection of meats and veggies they had available. Our co-op has a great bulk section and I couldn't resist buying several cups of dried garbanzo beans. We also found some lamb chorizo from Mint Creek Farm in Stelle, IL which specializes in grass fed lamb. We became big fans of Mint Creek as a vendor at our farmer's market in the summer and are so happy to see them supplying meats to the co-op!
And thus, we settled on the chickpea stew with spinach and chorizo from the book, Food & Wine 2006, an Entire Year of Recipes. Right now I'm definitely on a Food & Wine kick. I think their recipes are simple, healthy and really delicious and am happy both to follow them verbatim as well as use them as inspiration for new dishes.
The lamb chorizo was a really interesting meat. I found it slightly less unctious then regular chorizo, which can be a little much for me. And I am so glad that I have started cooking with dried instead of canned beans, I can really taste the difference in the flavor.
The dinner was wonderful. Our hosts made a warm salad of mixed greens served tossed with a vinaigrette and topped with sauteed mushrooms and a sprinkling of roquefort cheese and walnuts. A perfect start to the meal. The sauteed mushrooms in the salad is a something I've come to attribute solely to eating at our friends' home and it is always delicious, why don't I ever do it in my home?!? We enjoyed the Washington State Kung Fu Girl Reisling before dinner and with the salad. The name might be goofy but we all really enjoy this wine!
The stew was a lovely, hearty main which we served with a Volpaia Chianti Classico which we purchased in Volpaia, Italy this past summer. It was a special wine that really worked with the meal.
Dessert consisted of an assortment of beautiful Whole Foods pastries.
Our host Aitor is from San Sebastian (Donostia) in the Basque Country of Spain. Finally, we are planning a trip with them to his home town this August and we began making preliminary plans! His parents are in the center of town and we hope to stay near the old center. Beaches, mountains, rioja, and a land with an incredible culinary history. Not to mention a ridiculous number of Michelin Star rated restaurants in such a small area. I have a feeling that this will be a culinary adventure like no other, capped off by going to one of two of the best restaurants in the world. Arzak or Mugaritz, how do you decide?
CHICKPEA STEW WITH SPINACH AND CHORIZO
2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained
Extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion diced
1 1/2 tsp minced dried rosemary
1 bay leaf
One 28 ounce can chopped italian tomatoes, drained, reserving the liquid
3/4 pound lamb chorizo, sliced and cooked
1/2 lb spinach
1/2 lb arugula
salt and pepper
In a sauce pan, cover the chickpeas with a couple of inches of water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook about 1 1/2 - 2 hours, adding more water as necessary.
Drain beans, saving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
In a dutch oven, heat a couple of tablespoons olive oil. Add garlic, onion, rosemary and bay leaf and cook over medium heat until the onion is softened.
Add the drained chopped tomatoes and cook over medium-high heat until sizzling.
Add the sliced chorizo, the chickpeas, the cup of reserved cooking water and the juices from the tomatoes and bring to a simmer.
Stir in the spinach and cook until wilted.
Stir in the arugula and simmer the entire stew for 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
**This dish made more than enough stew for 4 adults. Jason and I both had leftovers for lunch on Sunday and each are taking some, along with some leftover roasted cauliflower from a few days ago for lunch tomorrow.