My friend Tina came to dinner some time ago and I wanted to whip something up that combined cold-weather appropriate deliciousness, chorizo, and jewel-like colours.
This chorizo, cannellini bean and kale stew was firstly inspired by Nigella Lawson’s butter bean mash, which is why I used the garlic and rosemary to start off the stew, with no onion to muddy up the flavour (I do love onion, but it wasn’t right here).
I bought the cannellini beans from Waitrose and they were ridiculously tiny and adorable, even after soaking. A note on soaking beans: the back of the packet of cannelini beans suggested using 75g dried for 125g cooked beans, and for this particular bean this suggestion seemed about right. I wanted the equivalent of two tins worth so soaked about 230g dried beans, give or take. Dried bean to tinned bean equivalencies are very much a work in progress and one day I shall probably produce a chart. I find chickpeas to be the most unpredictable.
As for the tomatoes, I used one of those leetle half-tins of plum tomatoes but there’s no reason not to use half a normal tin, maybe freezing the rest if you have no immediate use for it. Even with the tomato paste I didn’t want this to be a dominantly tomato-tasting stew, hence using half a tin.
What I liked about the chorizo was that some is minced and stirred through the stew, and some is sliced for use as a garnish. Drizzling the stew with a touch of the chorizo cooking oil is pretty and delicious, though as ever don’t go overboard.
Little white bean, chorizo and kale stew
230g cannellini beans, soaked overnight
2 – 3 TBS olive oil
1 – 2 sprigs rosemary, de-stalked, spiky leaves bruised
2 – 3 cloves garlic, sliced
230g (half a normal tin) plum tomatoes
1 TBS tomato paste
200g chorizo, half sliced into rounds, half chopped into bits (what I did was slice this half into coins and then quarter them)
about 100g curly kale. If you have any large tough stems you might want to cut the leaves in half through the stem
1) Drain the beans, put in a pot, cover with cold water and bring to the boil over a medium-high heat. Once boiling, cook at a rolling boil for ten minutes (apparently essential for all beans, to destroy their evil toxins), then turn down to a steady simmer and cook till tender, 40 mins – 2 hours. (Yes. This can be summed as ‘cook till tender your way’, should you have one. But the devil is in the detail). (I start checking after half an hour to see how tender they are – they’re unlikely to be done after 30 minutes but it helps gauge how long you’ll need to cook them for). NB: this step can be done in advance
2) In a separate pan, heat the oil over a medium heat and add the rosemary and garlic. Stir 30 second – 1 minute, until they start getting fragrant.
3) Add the cooked, drained beans, tomatoes and tomato paste and stir together. Cover, turn heat to low and let lightly simmer for 10 – 15 minutes or more (as convenient) to let the flavours meld a bit
4) Meanwhile, heat up a frying pan and dry-fry the minced chorizo until cooked through. Drain on kitchen paper and stir through the stew.
5) Add the curly kale and cook for a further 5 – 10 minutes (or slightly more depending on how tough your kale is) until the kale is cooked and tender (test a stalk!)
6) Meanwhile dry-fry the chorizo rounds until cooked through.
7) Decant stew into bowls and garnish with chorizo. And then some more and then some more because yuuuuuuum.
This would serve about four, and it tastes good reheated.