Fish,  Recipes,  Stews

Cod, spinach and chickpeas stew: a classic of Spanish Easter with a little tweak

Hola a todos!

Have you all had a nice Easter? Today is the last day of this long weekend. In Oxford has been sunny and chilly at the same time which leaves you with a weird feeling of living through a winter that is resisting to go. On the bright side, this gives me loads of possibilities for recipes that normally wouldn’t be cooked around these days. Yes, I am talking about stews.

My social feeds have run full of Easter recipes. To feature some of the people I follow: the torrijas of @paulasapron, the roast of @simplyfoodbymandy, the White chocolate Hot Cross Buns of @nadsycooks and the Argentinian style beef stew of @criollauk. Myself? I did another batch of Hot Cross Buns and the recipe you can read below. Cod, chickpeas and spinach stew, known in Spanish as Potaje de Vig√≠lia (Vigils stew). A classic of our Easter, it consists in a hearty, fish-based dish that people used to eat on Good Friday following Christian’s meat abstinence. Neverthless, is not so restricted datewise and can be enjoyed any time of the year.

Like many classics, every household makes its own version. I have found inspiration in Chef Enrique Sanchez who appears every weekday at Canal Sur Televisi√≥n, the Andalusian regional TV station. Recipe’s most interesting feature is a break with the tradition because he turns the cod loins into cod meatballs. The stew requires a long cooking process as it has three elaborations: the stew itself (including a sofrito), the balls shaping and the majado, a paste that will give texture and boost the flavour.

INGREDIENTS

For the stew (serves 4 portions):

  • Chickpeas (400 g)
  • Spinach (500 g)
  • Medium potatoes (2)
  • Large onion (1)
  • Canned tomato (200 g)
  • Leek (1)
  • Bay leaves (2)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Sweet paprika
  • The white of a boiled egg

For the cod meatballs (serves 8 units):

  • Cod loin (250 g)
  • Garlic clove (1)
  • Egg (1)
  • Crumbled bread (10 tbsp / 50 g)
  • Fresh parsley
  • Olive oil
  • Pepper

For the majado:

  • Bread slices (5)
  • Raw almonds (50 g)
  • Garlic cloves (4)
  • The yolk of a boiled egg
  • Cumin (1 teaspoon)
  • Turmeric (1 teaspoon)
  • Fresh parsley

DIRECTIONS OF COOKING

  1. The night before, soak the chickpeas in a casserole with abundant water and salt. On the following day they will have become bigger and softer. Change the water and boil them at high heat with the bay leaves, the leek and some salt. You will need to remove the froth shortly after and leave on the heat during the whole process.

2. In a bowl, add the cod loin (crumbled), the parsley and the garlic (chopped), the pepper, the olive oil, the bread crumbs and the egg. Mix everything until you get a homogeneous paste. Then, shape the balls and coat in flour.

3. Add a generous quantity of olive oil in a deep pan (such a wok) and sear the cod meatballs at high heat. Remove and set aside when they are golden brown.

4. Time for the majado. Cut the garlic cloves half way, fry in the same oil for shortly and reserve. Then, toast the almonds and the bread in turns. Drop everything into a blender beaker together with the spices, the leek, the boiled egg yolk, a few chickpeas and about 100 ml of the casserole broth. Grind everything until it turns into a yellow, thick paste and reserve.

5. And now, the sofrito. In the same oil, simmer the remaining half onion and the garlic. Add later and integrate the sweet paprika. Do the same with the tomato and the potatoes (diced). Heat softly until all the water evaporates.

6. Transfer the sofrito to the casserole and mix with the chickpeas. Top up with the spinach, maintain the heat and cook until they shrink.

7. Tip the majado into the casserole and stir. Afterwards, add the cod meatballs (juices included), reduced the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Serve in a bowl or deep plate and sprinkle the egg white on top.

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