Bean and Chorizo Soup

Last week we went to Garcia's in Portabello Road and picked up a few little bits of Spanish heaven. I couldn't resist making this glorious soup with spicy chorizo sausage as one of the star ingredients. Packed with protein and flavour, this soup is incredibly hearty and makes a whole meal on its own. The key is to cook it slowly over a few hours and then allow to rest until the next day. The flavours will be well developed and come into their own. Utterly moreish!

This soup is based on the Spanish stew 'Caparrones' which is made with a particular type of red kidney bean stewed with chorizo. There are many variations of this traditional recipe, some calling for the addition of vegetables or other meats. I have paired mine down to just a few ingredients to give them room to shine. Feel free to use red kidney beans, butter beans or cannellini beans for this recipe. I also like to add both hot and sweet Spanish pimenton for added flavour and strength. If you can't find this variety of spice then use a good smoked paprika as a substitute. The soup should be really rich and spicy, my recipe has quite a bit of kick so adjust the chilli and pimenton to suit your taste. I think the best way to serve this, is topped with a poached egg, it adds an extra depth of creaminess and makes this humble plate of food sing. Thick cut roasted potato wedges make a divine accompaniment too. 

Recipe (serves 4)

1 hot chorizo cooking sausage, sliced
1 medium shallot, sliced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tin (400g) cannellini beans
1 tin (400g) chopped tomatoes
4 fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp or 1 cube vegetable stock
small bunch flat leaf parsley
2 tsp Spanish pimenton 
small red chilli, sliced
olive oil

In a heavy pot place chorizo, onion and garlic with a few splashes of olive oil. Allow to fry on a medium heat for a few minutes until soft. Add pimenton and chilli, fry for a bit longer. Add fresh tomatoes, allow to reduce. Add chopped tomatoes, about 400ml (a tin full) of water, stock and the tomato paste. Bring to the boil and then reduce heat to low and simmer for an hour with the lid on. Add chopped parsley and the beans, simmer for a further hour until thickened. Add a little bit more water if it seems more like a stew than a soup. Leave to rest either for a few hours or better still, until the next day. Serve piping hot, topped with a poached egg and a drizzle of olive oil.

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