Fragrant and clear broth flavoured with sherry and mint and smoky chorizo bathes the chickpeas and cannellini beans. There’s a gentle kick from the chilli, and a freshness from the mint, caramel notes of the sherry. Glorious with buttered sourdough toast, and perhaps a side of kale, this is a perfect winter dish, fragrant and warming. I’ve been making it regularly for over a year now, and now it’s time to share it here.
The dish is based on a recipe by Simon Hopkinson for red kidney beans baked with chorizo, chilli, garlic and olive oil. My interpretation is fairly different, a fragrant soup-stew rather than a dry beany dish. I love the broth so I don’t let it evaporate and absorb itself into the beans. I also don’t use kidney beans on their own. I prefer chickpeas as my main pulse, and like to combine it with other beans. Today I’m using cannellini, but black-eyed beans look stunning, too, and throwing a few kidney beans in give it a nice and interesting colour. I’ve also replaced the fresh mint with dried to make it a fully seasonal dish, but also because dried mint tastes great in its own right. It keeps its fresh zingy flavours. It’s one of the very herbs that works well in its dried form; other dried herbs are merely poor and pale versions of their fresh former selves. Amateur Gourmet blogged a version close to the original, if you’re interested.
In case you’re wondering about the mint, it really does go here. It adds a note of freshness to the dish, and goes really well with the sherry and the chorizo. It’s the combination of these ingredients that makes the dish for me.
Chickpea, cannellini and chorizo soup-stew with chilli, mint and sherry
SOURCE: Inspired by Simon Hopkinson’s recipe from Second Helpings of Roast Chicken
PREPARATION TIME: about 5 min + preparing the beans
COOKING TIME: 30 – 40 min
SERVES: 4 – 6
250 g chickpeas, soaked overnight and boiled (reserve boiled chickpea water) to yield 500 g
500 g white cannellini beans (but see note)
1 tbsp olive oil (if needed)
225 g dried chorizo sausage, sliced and cut into thick half moons
2 medium red onions finely chopped
6 medium cloves of garlic, chopped
150 ml sherry
1.5 teaspoons of dried chilli flakes
0.5 tsp smoked paprika
1.3 l chickpea cooking water mixed with chicken stock concentrate (or use homemade chicken stock instead of the chickpea water)
1.5 tsp of dried mint, or 2 tbsp fresh chopped mint
salt and pepper
Heat the olive oil in a wide cast iron pan, and add the sliced chorizo. Fry until the chorizo releases its oils, and starts browning slightly. When done, remove the chorizo from a pan and set aside.
Add onions and garlic and fry in the chorizo and olive oils until they soften totally. You may need to add a touch more olive oil if the chorizo did not release enough.
Add 150 ml sherry and stir for a minute or two until the alcohol evaporates somewhat. Add the chilli flakes, paprika, cannellini beans, chickpeas and their cooking water with chicken stock. Cook for 20 – 30 min for the flavours to blend.
At the end, stir in the chorizo and mint, and season with salt and pepper.
Eat immediately or leave to stand for a few hours. This is one of those dishes that tastes even better after leaving it for the flavours to blend for a few hours.
Serve with hot buttered (good!) bread, and perhaps a side dish of sautéed kale. Enjoy!
Beans – A combination of beans makes for a more interesting visual and textural effect. Chickpeas + anything else, pretty much. Black beans and chickpeas look stunning together. Yes, use the tinned beans if you must, it will still work, but it won’t be as nice! I do prefer the dried beans, as they have a cleaner, purer flavour.
Chorizo – I take the chorizo out after frying it. I find that it’s juicier and more flavourful if added to the broth in the end, in comparison to boiling the chorizo in the soup. Also, chorizo is quite oily anyway, so you might as well use its oil to fry the onions rather than adding extra fat. It’s good for the flavour, too.
Mint – it really does work, try it! See note in the main text above.
Making it veggie – this would totally work! Just add more smoked paprika, and perhaps some fried smoked tofu (I feel the texture of fried tofu would work better here). Plus some potatoes and kale. And use a veggie stock, of course.
Extra veggies – potatoes are good, and so is kale or spinach.
Finishing it off in the oven – do, if you want to intensify the flavours. I do it sometimes if I’ve got time.
Lunchbox treat – make extra for a great lunch dish!