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  • Writer's pictureChef Dylan

SPICED SPANISH CHORIZO SOUP




This hearty homage to Spanish cuisine is a delightful combination of succulent, spiced chorizo and protein-packed chickpeas, poached in chicken stock and ripe tomatoes. If you're in search of a super-fast, flavour-packed winter's meal, look no further.

This recipe is incredibly easy, allowing you to have a bowl of steaming deliciousness on the table in under 30 minutes. In fact, it only takes 10 minutes to get everything started, then simply turn the heat down low and let the flavours develop. While this soup has a nice kick to it, you can easily adjust the spiciness by reducing the amount of Creole seasoning you use. For those who enjoy an extra-spicy kick, feel free to garnish with some freshly chopped chilli.


Did you know? Chorizo as we know it today was born when the Conquistadors brought back newly-discovered paprika or pimentón from the New World in the 16th century. These new chorizo sausages quickly became the domain of peasant farmers, evolving into a culinary treasure coveted by the wealthy elite. It was during this time, with the introduction of exotic spices like pimentón and pepper, that chorizo began to rise in prominence. However, it was a fortuitous encounter that truly propelled chorizo into the royal spotlight.


Legend has it that while out on a hunting expedition, King Charles IV was approached by a humble chorizo-maker who offered him a taste of his delectable creation. Captivated by the rich and robust flavours, the King was instantly enamoured and promptly appointed the talented chorizo-maker as the official purveyor of chorizo to the royal court. From that moment on, chorizo ascended to a place of prestige and favour, forever linked to the palates of kings and nobles.


This chance encounter not only elevated chorizo's status but also solidified its position as a beloved symbol of Spanish cuisine, cherished for its distinct taste and cultural significance. Nevertheless, it wasn't until the nineteenth century, with the rise of industrialisation and increased food production, that chorizo transitioned from a luxury item to a more common everyday foodstuff. In recent decades, it has become readily available, and even here in Australia.


Chef Dylan tip: 1. Choose high-quality chorizo: opt for a good-quality, flavourful chorizo for your soup. Whether you prefer a mild or spicy variety, the quality of the chorizo will greatly impact the overall taste of the dish. 2. Render the chorizo: Before adding other ingredients, take the time to render the chorizo fat. This step helps release the flavourful oils and enhances the taste of the soup. Cook the chorizo in a hot pan, allowing it to brown and release its oils, creating a rich base for your soup. 3. Balance the flavours: chorizo can be quite robust and salty, so it's important to balance the flavours in your soup. Taste as you go and adjust the seasoning accordingly. If the soup becomes too salty, you can dilute it with additional stock or water. Adding a squeeze of lemon juice or a splash of vinegar can also help brighten the flavours and cut through the richness of the chorizo.


Ponferrada, Camino del Santiago, Spain, 2004

I glance down to see the familiar yellow painted arrow that has been guiding me to my destination for the last 560 kilometres. Each step has brought me closer to the end of this incredible pilgrimage, and I can't help but feel a mix of exhaustion and exhilaration. To my left, a small pillar adorned with a delicate scallop shell tile catches my eye. The golden rays of the Spanish sun dance upon a small brass plaque beneath, displaying the words 'Ponferadda 2 km'. Inhaling deeply, I stretch out my neck, feeling the tension in my shoulders from carrying my trusty 15kg backpack for the past four weeks.


With a slight twist of my body, I reach around to grab my water bottle, seeking temporary relief from the persistent hunger gnawing at my belly. I take two long gulps of water, savouring the refreshing liquid that momentarily quenches my thirst. As I lower the bottle, a worn and weathered piece of cardboard emerges from my pocket - my pilgrim's passport. Its pages bear the imprints of countless stamps, each one representing a milestone along this sacred path. I trace my finger along the route, following the twists and turns that have led me to this very moment.


Looking up I catch a glimpse of the majestic mountains on the distant horizon. Their grandeur and beauty leave me in awe, but they also serve as a reminder that my stop for the night lies at the base of these rugged giants. A quick mental calculation tells me that another 18 kilometres await me before I can rest my weary legs. “C’mon, you can do it. Four hours, tops" I silently reassure myself. The thought of arriving around 4-ish brings a sense of comfort amidst the physical strain.


Continuing on, my tired but determined legs lead me through the charming medieval town of Ponferadda. Its narrow, cobbled streets are steeped in history, each corner holding secrets and stories of pilgrims who have walked these paths for centuries. The allure of the town's rich heritage tugs at my heart tempting me to explore its hidden corners. Yet the unyielding arrows painted on walls and imprinted on the ground remind me of my purpose and beckon me forward.


All of a sudden, as if transported to another era I make a turn and find myself facing a massive castle. It stands tall and proud, a testament to the valour and dedication of the Templars who once protected this town and the weary pilgrims who sought solace within its walls during the 12th century. The imposing structure before me, with its high, thick walls and intricate architectural details, fills me with a sense of reverence and awe.

Just a stone's throw away, my ears catch the faint hum of activity. Following the sound, I discover a small restaurant tucked away in a cozy corner.


The aroma of hearty, comforting food wafts through the air tempting my senses. As if in response my stomach growls reminding me of its persistent emptiness. A blackboard propped outside the restaurant catches my attention and my eyes focus on the words written in chalk lettering ‘Sopa: Chorizo and Chickpea’. The price, just 3 Euros, seems insignificant compared to the satisfaction it promises. Beside it, a tempting offer of a cold beer for just 1 Euro seals the deal. With a rumbling stomach and the promise of a warm, nourishing meal, I gladly make my way through the small opening of the restaurant's door.


PREP TIME: 10mins

COOK TIME: 20mins

SERVES 2-4


INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil

  • 350g chorizo (3 pieces), sliced into

  • 1/2 cm slices

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1/2 brown onion, diced

  • 1 tbs tomato paste

  • 1 tbs CREOLE

  • 400g can crushed tomato

  • 400g can chickpeas, drained

  • 2 cup chicken stock

  • Chilli, chopped (optional)


METHOD

  1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add chorizo and cook for 3 minutes or until nicely browned on both sides.

  2. Add onion, garlic, and stir until fragrant, add CREOLE, stir in then add tomato paste and stir in for 30 seconds.

  3. Add tinned tomato, chickpeas, chicken stock. Stir, bring to a simmer then lower the heat down to medium low so it is simmering very gently.

  4. Now just stir regularly to ensure the base does not catch, until the sauce has reduced and thickened a bit. (About 15/20 mins)

  5. Time to serve.

TO SERVE


I love this with warm baguette or Turkish toast with a good wedge of butter.










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