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Esurientes - The Comfort Zone

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Man food!

Ohmygaaaawd, did you hear that Orangette is marrying some boy who wrote fan mail to her about her blog??!! I'm a bit out of the loop 'cos I only just heard of this, but heck...love on the blogs! I don't know if this is wonderfully uplifting or a bit sad. I get some fan mail (and very lovely it is too), but only from girls. That's no use! :-) Hmmm...I'm guessing it's the cakiness of the blog. I'm not going to turn suddenly all meat-heavy on you, although it's actually more that way I eat. I really have more of a salt tooth than a sweet one, but baking is much more fun to photograph and blog about than some random chunk of steak I grilled with some broccoli. Yawn. There's no poetry in writing about a bit of chicken. There's poetry in baking things that people dream about.
My friends said they'd sabotage the site if I made any attempt to start trawling for a husband ("hello?!! Axe-murderers?! Crazy internet people!?! WEIRDOS?!"), so I'm not, although I'm yet to be convinced that there's a marauding team of crazy, internet murderers slavering over a foodblog about cakes! I have higher opinions of you than that! Maybe there's some fetish niche out there I don't know about; I do get some pretty suggestive Google references to my site.... But, still, it's good to know I'm so well protected. :-)
But, there you go. Somebody has proven you can find love on a foodblog, and that's a wonderful thing.

So, in a self-conscious meander away from baking, here's a BIG BLOKE savoury meat dish. No, I didn't whip it up especially for this post; it's something I made ages ago. I had this thing in my head (a "hot nut" in Anthony Bourdain-speak) about a chicken and chorizo stew. I didn't have a recipe for it, so I hunted around a bit on the internet and kind of played around with it from there. It should have used chicken thighs, but we only had breasts. Do try to use thighs, because they don't turn into balsa wood like breasts do (that sentence seems disturbingly suggestive) after long cooking. Thighs remain moist and juicy (there I go again...).
I'm not a big fan of chickpeas, but am coming around. This used a tin of them, and actually I loved it. I added a carrot and a few handfuls of spinach, just cos we had them. In fact, the whole dish was really great. It has really big, gutsy flavours. I didn't have Spanish smoked paprika, so I went heavy on the sweet Hungarian stuff and loved it. The chorizo was salty and punchy and I could have drunk the sauce like soup. My brother, who is pretty suspicious of the things I cook - "the stuff you cook is weird!" -was a big fan; reckoning that it tasted like Mexican food (???). Interesting. But, hey, if my very blokey brother liked it, I've done well in the appealing- to-men-thing. ;-) Definitely something I'd make again, especially as we seemed to have bypassed autumn and skidded into winter.
Read on for the recipe:

Chicken and Chorizo Stew
Adapted from a recipe on the website of the UK supermarket

Serves: 6
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely diced
1 carrot, sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika (or Hungarian)
1 teaspoon chilli powder
200g chorizo sausage, peeled and thickly sliced
1 organic chicken, cut into 6 pieces (chicken thighs are easier)
400g can chopped tomatoes
400g chickpeas, soaked for 24 hours, then boiled until half-cooked (I used a can)
1 bay leaf
Handful fresh spinach
salt and ground black pepper

Sauté the onion, carrot and garlic in the oil until soft. Stir in the cumin and paprika and fry for a few seconds before adding the chorizo. Fry until lightly coloured, then add the chicken, turning the pieces to ensure they are evenly coloured. Stir in the tomatoes, chickpeas, bay leaf and, if necessary, a little water. Season to taste and simmer gently for 40 minutes. Add the spinach at the last minute.

This recipe was first published on Waitrose.com in October 1999.

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  • Not a fan of chickpeas? Try preparing them from the dried stage. They are much nicer than tinned. I make a wonderful Greg Malouf soup using chickpeas.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/05/2006 08:36:00 am  

  • LOL, great post! I couldn't believe it either! The recipe sounds great, thanks for sharing.


    By Blogger Dianka, at 5/05/2006 08:50:00 am  

  • If you can't snag a bloke with all the good things you cook there is something crazy wrong with this world.

    By Blogger neil, at 5/05/2006 10:47:00 am  

  • Loved your post, Niki!

    great story about orangette, altho I would've been pretty suss about meeting someone through a blog. too old-fashioned?

    By Blogger cin, at 5/05/2006 11:53:00 am  

  • Hey, that stew looks deeelicious!

    I love chorizo and chickpeas and chicken... so that stew sounds like a winning combination.

    Have you tried the chicken and chick pea tagine, the golden root vegetable couscous with chorizo, or the chicken stew with couscous from How to Eat? They're all pretty good, but I think you'd especially love the golden root vegetable couscous!

    xox Sarah

    By Blogger Sarah, at 5/05/2006 01:15:00 pm  

  • This looks very yummy.
    If you used bits of chicken, how much did you use? I think this is someting I'll want to make . .

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/05/2006 10:33:00 pm  

  • I thought it was rather funny to find out that Molly's man is a self-deluding vegetarian - so it may not have been the meat posts that drew him in!

    By Blogger Amanda, at 5/06/2006 03:07:00 pm  

  • I loved Orangette's blog romance a lot - it was so sweet. I also like this post of yours and I am sure there is a blokey cake fetish niche out there:)
    Can't believe that you're moving into winter season now - the spring is finally in full swing 'up here', so no chorizo stews in my kitchen for a few months now.

    By Blogger Pille, at 5/06/2006 06:59:00 pm  

  • Barbara - I'm coming round, but I think it'll be a while before I start soaking my own, to be honest!

    Dianka - thank you!

    Tankesuptaco - Hehe. Yes, I wonder that same thing sometimes! Thanks for the positive comment!

    Cin - I get different opinions from people. Some think no-way to the internet thing, others have had great experiences. Who knows?

    Sarah -I've been wanting to make some of those from HTE, so thanks for the tips. I'll definitely give them a go.

    Anon - I think I used about 4 chicken thighs? But you can sort of do it by eye - whatever you have and won't be too much or too little for the rest of the ingredients.

    Lushlife - hehe, that's right! A choosy vegetarian though! ;-)

    Pille - Yes, it is kind of fairy-tale like. Yep, definitely getting cold here. I'm home this morning with sore throat and headache. The joys of the sudden cold weather.

    By Blogger Niki, at 5/07/2006 01:06:00 pm  

  • Hi Niki! Yum - sounds delicious! Funny thing is what caught my eye immediately were the chickpeas... mmmm! I'm not crazy about them in salads and such, but I do love them hot in stews, etc. Your recipe sounds like something well worth trying!

    By Blogger Cathy, at 5/07/2006 01:11:00 pm  

  • Hi Niki. I just wanted to mention that I recently started reading your blog and enjoy every post. I live in the U.S., am 23 years old, and I'm still living at home. I'm also a male. My Mother, who is a brilliant chef, made this for dinner this evening and I think I could eat it every night. Well done!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/07/2006 01:46:00 pm  

  • Anon - Hi here! Wow, every post? That's a pretty good strike rate. Thanks so much for the comment and compliment. AND you're male!! Wow! ;-) I'm 29 and also still at home with my mum and brother, and I'd be very happy if one of them made this for me. But, as it is, it's on my list to make again. I love strong, savoury flavours and this really fits the bill. Glad you both enjoyed it!

    By Blogger Niki, at 5/07/2006 02:46:00 pm  

  • tankeduptaco's comment "If you can't snag a bloke with all the good things you cook there is something crazy wrong with this world" We all do say that to Niki!

    But Niki, we still won't allow you to "trawl" for a husband through your blog!! :)

    By Blogger Belinda, at 5/08/2006 03:25:00 pm  

  • "There's no poetry in writing about a bit of chicken." - ahh, ain't that the truth. But then there's me, also with a salt tooth, checking your blog because I do so love baked goods and all their comfortyness.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/13/2006 05:46:00 am  

  • I really enjoyed this recipe- it was delicious- I love your cakes too but more savoury things like this would be very welcome!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/15/2006 11:07:00 am  

  • Belinda - I wonder sometimes what is wrong with the world...

    Kate - Just the sort of comment I needed to hear! Thanks so much for the compliment. :-)

    Emily - Am working on it!

    By Blogger Niki, at 5/17/2006 10:39:00 pm  

  • Hi Niki,

    Definitely agree that a food-blogosphere is a girls world... but there are a few guys doing the rounds.

    My tips for cooking man food... Something that will come out of a white shirt easily... Something that goes well with beer... Something that can be eaten with hands if necessary.

    Which basically leaves you with hotdogs is what I'm saying...

    Personally though, this looks great... I am a big fan of anything involving chorizo, and would happily eat through the chickpeas to get to it.

    Keep whipping this up and they'll be eating out of your hands in no time :)


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/23/2006 02:09:00 pm  

  • hi there,

    this is the first time I have read your blog and have already printed off this recipe to cook for my boyfriend tomorrow night.

    One question though... with the chorizo, is this a salami like sausage from deli or the traditional looking chorizo sausages found in the butchers these days??

    Thanks S

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6/15/2006 01:04:00 pm  

  • Matt - thank you!

    Anon - I hope you enjoy it. It's certainly tasty. Re: the chorizo, I'm not quite sure. Both things you describe sound like what you need. It is a salami type sausage, but still quite moist and not very thick. About normal sausage size. It can be eaten without being cooked, as it's already been cured, but cooking it releases lots of orange coloured oil from the paprika. Does this help??

    By Blogger Niki, at 6/15/2006 01:27:00 pm  

  • Hmm, ok, will try the one from the deli as I am pretty sure the butchers ones need cooking. They just look like standard sausages with a bit more colour


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6/15/2006 02:01:00 pm  

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