Garlic, White Bean and Chorizo Stew With Spinach and Sherry Vinegar is the perfect example of just a few quality ingredients leading to a delicious meal. I made this dish a second time in November 2015 and updated the photos.
This recipe was definitely outside of my comfort zone. As some of you know, I have had bad luck with cooked greens in soups and stews, and, further, Spanish food is not something I have much experience in. However, I could tell from some quick research, that many Spanish dishes rely on just a few high quality ingredients in the right proportion–something I felt I could handle.
I was inspired because after getting that new fridge down into our basement, it was time to (cue the dread music) clean out and defrost the chest freezer. Where I found several packages (embarrassed face) of high quality chorizo imported from Spain.
So I decided to get over my hesitant inexperience and just go for it. I found some dried Great Northern (white) beans that needed to be used up and started cooking those with garlic and some good quality extra virgin olive oil. I have my sister to thank for that last ingredient–when she was off seeing U2 (cough, sputter, cough) in Spain without me, she also had the probably guilt induced thought to pick me up a can of good Spanish olive oil. (Kidding!–I am sure she would have brought it for me either way). So into the beans that went.
My sister and I have had many conversations about olive oil and how I just cannot taste extra virgin olive oil. Well no longer–I have no idea if it was the simple combination with garlic and a less strong tasting white bean or what but wow did just the beans alone smell fantastic.
Another original 2010 photo
Then I sauteed up some chorizo, onions, spinach, adding heaps more garlic at the last minute and quickly deglazing with Spanish sherry vinegar. I got this last idea from my sister, who created the only cooked greens I have ever enjoyed by sauteing them with balsamic vinegar. So I thought maybe vinegar and spinach would be like peanut butter and chocolate and I, or she, was pretty much right here too. This meal turned out fantastically. And if you have crusty bread to serve it with, all the better.
- 2 cups dried white beans, I used Great Northern
- drizzle extra virgin olive oil
- 4 smashed garlic cloves
- 1 lb chorizo sausage (Spanish, dried), sliced into rounds
- another drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
- 3 medium-small onions, chopped
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 10 oz chopped spinach--fresh or frozen (if frozen, squeeze the excess water out)
- 2-3 T sherry vinegar
- ¼ t smoked Spanish paprika
- salt and pepper to taste
- more extra virgin olive oil for drizzling on finished soup
- Rinse the white beans and bring them to a boil in a pot with water to cover them by several inches. Add the smashed garlic and extra virgin olive oil. Let boil vigorously for 5 minutes and then reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer with the lid on. Check every now and then and add water if it the water drops down to the level of the beans.
- Close to when the beans will be ready--or as best as you can time it since beans can take a varied amount of time to cook depending on type and age--heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and throw the sausage in. Cook for 7 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until the chorizo is browned and has rendered a decent amount of fat.
- Remove the chorizo with a slotted spoon and add the onions in their place with a pinch of salt. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the spinach and either cook until the excess moisture has cooked off, in the case of frozen spinach, or until the spinach has wilted, if fresh. Add the garlic and then immediately add the vinegar. Toss and cook until the vinegar has boiled away, leaving only its fragrance. Turn off the heat, toss the sausage back in and wait for the beans to be done.
- When the beans are done (I wish I had timed this better so my spinach had been a brighter green when served), add the chorizo mix to the beans. Add a pinch of salt, the paprika, and some freshly ground black pepper. Let simmer for 10 more minutes, and then taste for additional seasoning. Drizzle each bowlful with extra virgin olive oil before serving. Serve with crusty bread.
For the collage lovers….