My birthday was Sunday. I’m 28. I went out to dinner and drinks with some friends on Saturday, I wore a dress that didn’t look anything like a peppermint stick and I didn’t make an ass out of myself, which was a nice change from my 27th birthday. I guess I’m growing up. Sunday, my actual birthday, my good buddy Linda made me dinner and one of the things she made was Fried Chickpeas with Chorizo and Spinach, a recipe she got from Mark Bittman. She also made me my Traditional Birthday Dessert Request: dirt pudding. Dirt pudding, if you don’t know what that is because you forgot about being 7 years old, is kind of like a trifle, except it’s chocolate pudding, crushed Oreos and whipped cream, with gummy worms in it. I love it, and I ask for it every year.
The chickpeas and chorizo was the best thing I’ve had in ages, which is why I made it myself today (Tuesday) even though I just ate it (Sunday). I will tell you that it was a serious pain in the ass to find Spanish chorizo (a dry, pimento/paprika heavy sausage that’s like a spicier version of summer sausage). You’ll want to check in the cured meats section, which is probably near the cheese. But it’ll all be worth it when you smell that paprika-y oil start to seep out of the chorizo as it crisps in the pan. You’ll forget you even looked at the sodium content of the chorizo on the back of the package. You’ll forget that promise you made to yourself about eating less cured meat and more coconut water-fiber supplement-sea bream extract-b1423 vitamin-antioxidant super food crap that makes you live longer, because that long life would have no Spanish chorizo in it.
This is so good, I ate it on Sunday and had to make it on Tuesday because I couldn’t bear the thought of not having any in my fridge. This recipe also has sherry in it. Oh my god it’s delicious. Just make it.
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cans chickpeas, rinsed and as dry as possible
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 oz of Spanish chorizo, diced (I used about twice that, because more sausage is always better.)
1 bag of baby spinach
1/4 cup sherry
1-2 cups breadcrumbs (I toasted French bread and put it through the food processor, I like the bigger chunks)
salt and pepper
In a large, oven-safe pan on medium heat (I used a big metal skillet), heat a few tablespoons of the olive oil on medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the chickpeas and garlic in an even layer. Reduce heat to medium and cook, shaking the pan every so often, until the chickpeas start to brown, 10-13 minutes. Then, add the chorizo, and cook another 10 minutes, stirring every so often. When the chickpeas and chorizo are crisp, remove them to a plate with a slotted spoon. Pour the sherry into the pan and let it de-glaze and reduce for a minute or two, then dump in the bag of spinach. Cook the spinach until it’s soft and the liquid has mostly evaporated. Pour the chickpeas and chorizo back into the pan, toss with the spinach and top with the breadcrumbs. Put the pan under your broiler for a minute or two to toast the top, if you like.
A note- my mom loves sherry. She and I once got into a heated argument over whether I was going to put sherry into the risotto I was making. I dedicate this post to her, and would like to state publicly: you were right, I should have put sherry in it.