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The Caterer

Salt cod, chickpea and chorizo soup, by Paul Gayler

31 January 2014
Salt cod, chickpea and chorizo soup, by Paul Gayler

This warming, filling soup captures all the flavours of Spain and is ideal as a supper dish, served with crusty bread. Traditional salt cod can be too salty so I often prefer to make my own lighter version, as here. I also sometimes like to top the soup with freshly shaved Manchego cheese.

Salt cod, chickpea and chorizo soup

400g (14oz) cod fillet, skin removed and cut into 2cm (¾in) pieces
1 tbsp coarse sea salt
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
200g (7oz) cooking chorizo sausage, skin removed and cut into 1cm (½in) slices
1 x 400g (14oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into 1cm (½in) cubes
¼ tsp smoked paprika (pimentón)
1.5 litres (2¾ pints/1.3 quarts) white chicken stock (see below)
Good pinch of saffron strands
1 tsp finely chopped oregano or ½ tsp dried oregano
75g (2½oz) Serrano ham, coarsely chopped
125g (4½oz) baby spinach, leaves only, shredded
Crusty bread, to serve

Put the cod in a dish, sprinkle with the salt and leave uncovered in the fridge for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat, then add the onion, garlic and carrot.

Cook for 10 minutes until softened. Add the chorizo, chickpeas, red pepper and paprika, reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes more.

Add the stock, saffron and oregano and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Remove the cod from the fridge, rinse under a little cold water and pat dry with kitchen paper. Add the cod to the soup together with the Serrano ham and spinach. Simmer for 5 minutes more.

Divide the soup between individual soup bowls and serve immediately with crusty bread

White chicken stock Makes 3 litres5 ¼ pints

2kg (4½lb) raw chicken carcasses or a mixture of chicken legs and wings
5 litres (8 pints) cold water
2 onions, coarsely chopped
2 celery sticks, coarsely chopped
2 large carrots, coarsely chopped
1 leek, trimmed and coarsely chopped
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 bouquet garni
Put the chicken in a large saucepan, add the cold water to cover and slowly bring to the boil. Skim occasionally to remove any impurities that float to the surface.

Add the remaining ingredients, reduce the heat and simmer gently for four hours.

Remove from the heat and strain through a fine sieve. Leave to cool then refrigerate until required.

RECOMMENDED WINE

A classic spanish dish should go with a classic Spanish wine. There is nothing more classic than a glass of sherry. A rare Palo Cortado will be perfect with this dish, alternatively Oloroso which is more widely available.

If you were to choose a non-fortified wine, look out for Grenache Blanc base wine (priorato area) which has enough depth, power and spice to match the chorizo.

Xavier Rousset is co-owner of Texture and 28º-50º, in London

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