The origin of this recipe has dissolved under a stain of red wine in my notebook. There was a village bar. There was a bowl of these chickpeas, strewn with tiny meatballs and smoky from the pimentón. There was a recipe jotted down, which I have since made often. Perhaps it was in Castile or Andalusia or Extremadura all regions where these ingredients would be used.What ultimately matters is the homey, comforting taste.
The meatballs add a special touch to the stew, but it is also delicious with the chorizo alone. Just skip the meatballs part and increase the amount of chorizo to ten to twelve ounces.
- Yield: 5 Servings
- 1 cup dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans), soaked overnight or quick-soaked
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 ounces sweet Spanish-style chorizo sausage
- 2 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
- 10 ounces ground pork (not too lean)
- ¼ cup grated onion
- 1 small egg, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt (kosher or sea)
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Olive oil
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium-size onion, finely chopped
- 1 medium-size carrot, finely diced
- 4 medium-size garlic cloves, minced
- 2 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
- 1 teaspoon smoked sweet Spanish paprika
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- Coarse salt (kosher or sea)
- Prepare the chickpeas: Place the chickpeas in a heavy 4- to 5-quart pot, add cold water to cover by 2 inches, and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the bay leaf, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, partially covered, for 1 hour, periodically replenishing the liquid with more water.
- After 1 hour, cook the chorizo in boiling water for 2 minutes and drain it. Add the chorizo to the chickpeas and continue cooking until the chickpeas are tender but still a little al dente, about 30 minutes longer, adding more water to maintain the level of liquid.
- While the chickpeas are cooking, make the meatballs: Place the bread in a small bowl, add cold water to cover, and let soak for 5 minutes.Drain and squeeze out the excess liquid, then finely crumble the bread. Place the bread, pork, onion, egg, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Gently knead the meatball mixture with your hands just until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined. If the mixture is too moist to form into meatballs, refrigerate it for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- With oiled hands, shape the mixture into meatballs the size of a cherry tomato. Arrange the meatballs on a baking sheet and bake, shaking the pan once or twice, until they are lightly browned and firm to the touch, about 12 minutes. Set aside until ready to use.
- To finish the stew: Heat the olive oil in a medium-size skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion, carrot, and half of the garlic and cook until soft but not browned, about 5 minutes.Add the tomatoes, cover the skillet, and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the paprika, stir for a few seconds, then stir the tomato mixture into the chickpeas. Cook the stew until the chickpeas are very tender, 15 to 20 minutes longer.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chorizo to a cutting board. Cut it into ½-inch slices and return them to the pot. Gently stir in the meatballs and simmer them in the stew for about 5 minutes.
- Place the remaining garlic, the parsley, and a pinch of salt in a mortar and, using a pestle, crush them to a paste. Stir the parsley mixture into the stew and let it cook until all the flavors meld, about 5 minutes. Let the stew cool for about 5 minutes, then ladle it into bowls and serve.