A hearty chickpea and chorizo stew with celeriac and kale
November 7, 2011
There may still be a few tomatoes and scallions about, but there’s no denying that veg wise the season has changed. My oven is now on at least a couple of afternoons a week, roasting up parsnips and carrots, spuds, maybe a chicken and if I have any stewing fruit around, there’s usually a crumble in there too. At the moment I’m experimenting with quince and fig recipes but more on that when I’ve figured things out.
This week sees the return of celeriac which, if you haven’t seen it before, probably has you scratching your head. It’s the gnarly round thing at the bottom of your bag. No, it’s not much of a looker but it’s a great multitasker (just how we all want to be described right?). Like all roots, you can roast it, mash it, throw it into soups and stews or just boil it up (but don’t expect dinner to look anything but wartime if you go down this road – add a sprinkling of herbs at least).
As the name suggests, it’s a cousin of celery and the flavour is vaguely similar but there’s also a lovely nutiness so it goes really well with hazelnuts. Cream, bacon, anchovies, onions (especially when cooked down in butter) are also welcome additions.
This recipe started life as a soup at least in my mind, but as I turned it over in by head (yes, folks I probably do think about dinner way too much but it does drown out the white noise of children fighting) I decided a stew was needed. To kickstart things, chorizo was always going to be a key ingredient then chickpeas seemed a logical progression…. I love the mix of aniseed and celeriac together so I threw in some fennel seeds which brought things together nicely. Then for greens, kale in from the Healys this week was an obvious choice. It’s the Raggedly Jack variety which I haven’t bought before due to my allegiance to the Cavelo Nero kind. It’s pretty good – it doesn’t have the gorgeous forest green of its Tuscan cousin but tastes as good. If you don’t have kale, cabbage will work equally well in a recipe like this.
As celeriac is starchy, I served this with bread the first time but we had it with spuds last night and they went down a treat. Rice or quinoa would work fine as well. Up to you….
Chickpea and chorizo stew with celeriac and kale
3 medium or 2 large onions roughly chopped
4 fat cloves garlic chopped
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 bay leaves
175gr chorizo finely sliced
400gr celeriac diced into smallish bite size chunks
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tin chickpeas rinsed
600ml chicken or vegetable stock
Salt and pepper
Heat some olive oil in a heavy pot or casserole. Add the onions, bay leaves and a large pinch of salt then saute over a medium heat until they start to soften and change colour. Throw in the garlic and fennel seeds, mix everything together then continue cooking for another 2 or 3 minutes before adding the chorizo. Cook for a further 10 minutes or so, letting the chorizo release its oil and flavour everything. This is a good time to peel and chop your celeriac if you haven’t done so already. When you’re ready, add this to the pot and stir well. Add the tomatoes and sugar and allow everything to fry for a few minutes before pouring in the stock and chickpeas. Bring everything to the boil then turn the heat down, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes.
Wash the kale well and remove any tough stalks. Roughly shred it and add it to the pot. Continue cooking for further 30 minutes removing the lid for the final 15. Before serving check the seasoning, adding more salt if you think it needs it plus a decent grinding of black pepper. To serve, add a scattering of chopped parsley if you have it.
As you can imagine, this keeps very well and is possibly better on the second day.