Sometimes when you’re having people round for dinner, you find yourself planning an elaborate and expensive menu because you really really want to impress them. What that actually means is that you really really want them to like you. You think if you cook something absolutely mind-blowingingly complicated and sophisticated then your guests minds will be so befuddled and amazed that they will forget all your perceived shortcomings and will simply adore you for the rest of eternity. You even dream that they will forever refer to “that” meal as the benchmark against which all their future meals will have to be measured against.
This is a lot to ask of a meal. What will in fact happen is that you will spend a hundred pounds or more in Sainsbury’s eliciting a snort of shock and derision from your <husband/boyfriend/life-partner>. You will spend the entire day in the kitchen making your own bread, ice-cream, truffles or whatever else, getting yourself flustered and stressed. When your friends finally arrive you’ll be completely behind schedule, half-dressed and make-up not done. You’ll spend the whole evening in the kitchen frantically throwing together your carefully planned masterpiece in a blind panic, leaving your mates to be entertained by your other-half, which will involve a merry and frequent topping up of wine and the inevitable regression to youtube. By the time the food is served, you’ll be close to tears whilst everyone else will be half-drunk and completely incapable of differentiaiting between fish and chips and michelin starred food. It will, in short, be a complete and utter waste of your time.
In any case, the truth is your friends don’t actually want a ballotine of chicken wrapped in spinach stuffed with creamed leeks with a brandy mustard sauce. What they really want is an honest to goodness, blow your socks off, lick your plate clean chicken and chorizo stew.
The first time I had this dish it was at my friend Vron’s house. She cooked it, I loved it (and loved her for it) and I immediately begged the recipe from her. I’ve since cooked it a few times for friends and it is a winner every time. It’s easy to prepare too, leaving you with all the time in the world to actually hang out with your friends (which is presumably the point of having them round). Forget the complicated fine dining – leave that in the restaurant where it belongs. Cook this and I promise that your friends will love and adore you forever. What’s more, they will compare all their future meals against this simple but totally perfect stew.
There really is no secret to this dish. It will be belting no matter what. But, if I’m being pernickity then I would say you want to get nice cooking chorizo sausages. These unearthed ones are good and you can pick them up in Waitrose.
Also, use really nice paprika if you can. I love this La Chinata sweet smoked paprika.
Chicken and chorizo stew
- olive oil
- 3 red onions, finely chopped
- Lots of fresh thyme
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 fresh chilli, finely chopped
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 250g cooking chorizo, chopped into bite sized chunks
- 6 cloves garlic, very finely sliced
- 2 glasses white wine
- 2 tins chopped tomatoes
- 4-6 chicken thighs
- 1 can of butter beans (or chick peas, or cannellini beans)
- 1 tbsp sundried tomato puree
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- sea salt & pepper
This recipe really just requires you to add each of the ingredients one after the other and then leave to simmer for 45 minutes.
You need a hell of a lot of red onion.
And a hell of a lot of garlic, sliced as thinly as you can manage.
First heat a few generous glugs of evoo in a large pan and add your mountains of red onion. Fry off for a couple of minutes and then add the thyme and oregano and cook until the onions are soft and beginning to brown.
Then add the smoked paprika, cayenne and chilli. The onions will go into a big cloggy mess (but it will smell amazing). Cook for another minute or so; if necessary add a splash of water to loosen it a bit.
Chuck in the chorizo and fry for a further few minutes before adding the sliced garlic.
While that is cooking, pulse your chopped tomatoes quickly in the blender so you have a smooth passata. Add the white wine to your onions and chorizo (it should sizzle and smell amazing). Then add the chopped tomatoes.
Meanwhile, seal your chicken thighs in a pan before adding them to the stew.
Finally, add your drained butter beans…
…and both your tomato pastes and give a good stir.
Season well with sea salt and pepper and simmer for around 45 minutes until the sauce has thickened.
Et voila. Beautiful, ain’t it?
Serve with saffron rice and a bountiful glass of Rioja. A meal for kings.
btw, I should throw a shout out to Duncan and Kim who ate this with us. Duncan is my most avid reader and was kindly assisting us with a legal matter over dinner, so is a double legend.