Saturday, 29 September 2012

Salt Cod with Chorizo and Chickpeas

Salt Cod with Chorizo and Chickpeas
  The only time I eat dried food is normally when I'm having a “filthy” pot noodle or when I remember to soak some pulses, like black beans, chickpeas etc. But occasionally I use salt fish, which is also dried and something that is not very common in the UK, which is a shame as salt fish can add a lovely texture and flavour to a dish. In Spain they have salt cod, but although this recipe is mostly a Spanish recipe I am using Jamaican Salt Fish, which is actually salted Atlantic Pollack, which tends to be cheaper than the Spanish version and it's all I can get in my local supermarket.

When using salt fish, you must ensure that you soak the fish and drain a few times, otherwise the fish will be far to salty – hence the name salt fish. I do know an acquaintance who didn't realise that you needed to soak the fish. She placed it in a frying pan, added milk and season with more salt. So be careful to ensure you soak the fish before hand. I actually soaked the fish over night and in the morning I rinsed it and soaked it again for whole day and drained and refilled the bowl about five times. It was perfect when it came to use it.

soaking chickpeas and salt fish
I am also using dried chickpeas and soaked them also over night and in the morning, drained them, placed them into a pan of cold water brought it to a rapid boil. Boiled them for 10 minutes then turned the heat down and simmered for 40 minutes, but if you can't be bothered you can use tinned chickpeas. It's just I'm a cheapskate and prefer to buy big bags of dried pulses.

This recipe is for four people and I was the only one eating it, so I had enough for the next few days. To stop me getting bored of eating this over the next two days I added the bag of salad leaves which contain spinach, rocket and watercress which. I also served it with different sides dishes, cous cous, brown rice and then bulgar wheat with caramelised onions.

  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 120g chorizo, skin removed and diced (picante if you can get it)
  • 200 dried chickpeas (soaked and boiled) or 400g tinned chickpeas
  • 1 carrot, washed and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 ltr chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 300g dried salt fish (rinse, see above)
  • pepper for seasoning.
  • (Serves 4)

Put the oil into a heat resistant casserole dish and bring to a gentle heat and add the onion and garlic and cook until soft, about 4-5 minutes.

Add the chorizo and cook for about five minutes. You will see the paprika being released from the chorizo and bring a nice yellow colour to your onions and garlic

Frying onions, garlic and chorizo
Add the chickpeas, carrots and celery and cook for about 2-3 minutes stirring occasionally.

Add the chicken sock and bay leaves and then place the fish into the casserole dish and stir. Do not worry if the fish breaks up as you don't want uniformed size pieces of fish.

All the ingredients in a heat resistant casserole dish
Season with pepper and then place a lid on the casserole dish, once boiling, turn down the heat and cook for 20-30 minutes.

DO NOT add salt until ready to serve as you will probably find there is enough salt in the recipe because of the fish.

Serve with cous cous, rice or bulgar wheat or some crusty fresh bread.

Salt fish served with cous cous

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