Monday, December 8, 2008

Here Today, Legume Tomorrow....

I just can't talk about any more of the dismal stuff for a while (although I think it's getting better), so for a change, let's have a recipe... and this is a great one.

The basis and inspiration for this recipe is from Jacques Pépin's Fast Food My Way, which is a fantastic cookbook for simple dishes, every one delicious. I've made this for years, and evolved it into a more-or-less low carb dish. But the beauty of it (see below) is that really you can modify the carbs, modify the fat, and still have something that's both easy to put together, quick, nutritious, and just great comfort food. (His recipe is Chickpea Ragout, p. 91, and it's a side dish. Mine is a one-dish meal.)

This is a very forgiving recipe, and thus the proportions are all pretty vague.

Chicken-Chorizo Autumn Stew

  • 1 package boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 6 thighs. Don't use breast because it will dry out.)
  • about 4 inches spicy chorizo (the Spanish style... a hard, pepperoni-like sausage, not the Mexican kind. I prefer the hot kind, which adds a kick, but you can use the regular kind if you prefer)
  • olive oil
  • 1 red onion, roughly diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets (discard any tough stems or dice small)
  • 1 14 oz. can chopped tomatoes (I like the fire-roasted ones.)
  • 1 legume choice... see note below... a can of chickpeas or a package of lima beans or butter beans, etc.
  • choice of optional vegetables: fresh mushrooms, zucchini, fennel, etc.
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • about 1 cup chicken stock
  • finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, if desired
Finely dice the chorizo and cube the chicken thighs. Heat the oil in a (preferably nonstick) large skillet (with a lid!), and sauté the chorizo, onion, garlic, and chicken over high heat until lightly browned. Add all of the rest of the ingredients except the salt and pepper and the parsley, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are done, about 1/2 hour. Season to taste, and sprinkle with fresh parsley if desired.

The prep time is very quick, and then you can pretty much ignore it while you relax and have a glass of wine.

This is a hearty and delicious fall/winter meal. Serves 4-6, depending on portion size and how many vegetables you use. As listed above, with chickpeas and mushrooms, 4 very generous servings.

A note on legumes: the carb content of this dish is almost entirely determined by the choice of legume. You could leave out the legume entirely, and it would be lower carb, but I think that they really add something... so I've tried to just cut the proportion way back. I make this usually with chickpeas, but lima beans are really good, and an alternative might be just a few green peas. (Suggestions welcome!)

A note for the low-fat crowd: We don't pay much attention to fat proportions these days, but I first made this dish when I counted calories, not carbs. If you go very easy on the oil and use about half the chorizo, diced very small, this is a pretty low fat dish as well.

Oh, and if you like your food very spicy-hot, a dash of chili oil is excellent in this (I add this to my bowl, at the end, so that the rest of my family doesn't gasp and run for the water!).


Roy and Hazel said...

Looks delicious. The only ingredient I am missing is Chorizo. I can't make it tonight but will definitely try this recipe. Oh well. will have to go back to my trusted curry!

Vilma said...

Hi! First of all, thanks for stopping by my blog and addiing me to your blogroll! Really, really appreciate that. I'm still feeling my way with my blog and it helps when I have readers to guide me along.
Been reading your other posts... I feel for you...
I like this recipe, I love stews (they are just so comforting)and like Roy, I would need some Chorizo to try it out.