This is meant to be a loose recipe, I have put the weights an amounts to give an idea but exact measurements are not necessary. The amount of salt will depend on the saltiness of the stock & the chorizo so season carefully at first. You don’t need the exact ingredients, tinned tomatoes will work fine, frozen veg, dried herbs, any sort of spicy sausage and whatever seafood you like will all work. The main point is to use the sausage as a base for a rich sauce, add vegetables and beans and something from the sea.
I don’t often cook with haddock but had some leftover from another blog which we will post in a few weeks. It is a flaky white fish & I wanted a robust, comforting meal to warm us up – Autumn is feeling more like winter today. It is also windy & pouring with rain so I am not leaving the house. This means a Ready-Steady-Cook type dinner with whatever we have in the fridge & cupboards. This dish fits easily with our criteria for simple suppers, it is fast (about 20 minutes), simple and healthy (especially if you leave out the croutons).
Luckily I have some chorizo which Becky sent to me from Barcelona (gracias hermanita), it is hot and rich and will make anything tasty. Chorizo is a great ingredient to have around. It does not go off for ages, it is quite cheap and a little goes a long way, it is tasty and versatile. That set me up for some Mediterranean flavours and gave me a chance to use the last of the tomatoes from this year’s crop which are over-ripe and perfect for a tasty sauce.
The only veg I had were half a leek, half an onion and some green beans so I added some frozen peas for extra green. Lots of different veg would work here, carrots, peppers, aubergine, courgette, whatever you have lying around. I always have some cans of beans, chickpeas or lentils in the cupboard so I added a can of borlotti. Legumes are great for texture, flavour and are nutritious. They are also a good way of bulking out a meal without adding lots of carbs.
Speaking of carbs I couldn’t resist adding some bread. A broth like this needs something to soak it up. I decided to fry the bread for a crunchy texture as everything else is soft, also it was stale. Adding crunch changes the way we experience food and even affects the taste. I like dinner to be complex and flavoursome but also to incorporate different textures.
I added two spices, paprika to enrich the sauce and fennel for an aniseed note as I love that with chorizo and fish. I did not add any chilli because the chorizo is very spicy but if you use a mild sausage I recommend adding a little dried or fresh chilli when you add the garlic.
This will probably be the last recipe I post from English soil for a while as I am off to warmer climes. India is calling & I am just getting my visa, flights etc sorted to leave in the next week or two. I will be writing blogs from there & will also be posting photos on our TUMBLR page. Becky will be posting something delicious and sweet next week and we also have some guest spots from friends, including a lovely recipe from Peru. We will be continuing our simple suppers recipes so if you have any suggestions for those we would love to hear them
Simple Suppers – Chorizo & Bean Broth with Haddock & Croutons
Ingredients (serves 2):
1tbsp olive oil
1/2 leek (or just use one or the other)
75 g chorizo
1-2 cloves garlic
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp paprika
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
150 g fresh tomatoes
1 tsp sugar
200 ml fish stock
herbs (I used bay, thyme & rosemary)
175g can of borlotti beans
50g green beans
50g frozen peas
salt & pepper
1. Put a saucepan or deep frying pan (something with a lid) on to warm and add the olive oil. Slice the onion & leeks & add them to the oil to start softening. Add a couple of bay leaves.
2. Slice the chorizo and add that to the pan straight away to start frying so that the fat comes out, this is what gives the flavour to the sauce. Keep the heat quite high to render the sausage. This should take 4-5 minutes, the onions will be coloured from the oil.
If you are using fresh herbs add a couple of sprigs now to start infusing the broth & then add a couple of teaspoons of chopped ones later in the cooking. If you have dried herbs just add them later.3. Meanwhile slice the garlic & start chopping the tomatoes. Once the chorizo has given up some of its tasty oil add the garlic and fennel seeds and fry them to release their flavour. Add the paprika.
4. Quickly add the tomatoes, a small pinch of salt, balsamic vinegar and sugar. Keep the heat high for a couple of minutes and the tomatoes will start to break down. If you have the vine from the tomatoes add it to the broth, the vine gives great complexity to tomato sauces.
At this point check the flavour to make sure there is a good balance. You should be able to taste the herbs, warmth from the chilli, a hint of fennel, tomatoes, and chorizo. Make any adjustments now. Many people forget to season tomatoes with sugar, if the sauce is acidic add more sugar. If the sauce is thin just mash up a few of the beans with the back of a fork and give it a good stir, this should thicken it up.