Monday, April 12, 2010

The Easiest Best Dinner Ever . . . Maybe

In spite of the fact that the Native Americans in this part of New Mexico threw off the Spanish (well sort of-- for a while at least) hundreds of years ago, my New Mexico abode is barely a stones throw (hmm maybe that's what the Indians used) from a Spanish and Portuguese import store. Trying to pass the afternoon and wondering what to serve James in a hurry late at night when I come bustling in from work I wandered through to see what they shelves held for dinner.
Dry chorizo is one of those magic foods. Like bacon (and any really good pork product) it adds immeasurable, instant flavor to simple dishes and makes a quick sauté something special. I quickly put a few links in my basket. Next I spied a small glass jar of lovely light green (sometimes they are white) Pocha beans, a favorite of chefs in Northern Spain. These gently flavored beans show up in casseroles, soups, and in favorite Pintxos (Basque tapas) mixed with clams, tomato sauce, and hearty chorizo - delicious. Right there in the store James' late night tapas-style dinner was born.
I sautéed the sliced chorizo over medium-low heat allowing the delicious paprika flavored fat to render out. Next chopped onions and a bit of minced garlic joined the chorizo and I allowed the mixture to cook until the onions were soft, adding a bit of olive oil here and there as needed to keep the mixture moist. In went the jar of delicate beans with their liquid (that's unusual for me but these beans had a tasty delicate broth in the jar) and a sprinkle of S&P. The beans simmered for five minute or so until everything was warmed through, the flavors were blended and the liquid magically became a red-tinged sauce.
Ladled over rustic toast, drizzled with olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice and finished with flakes of crisp tasting sea salt this was maybe too hearty to really be tapas but flavorful, quick and Spanish style just the same.
I'm going back for more beans.

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