Recipes | Monkfish, chorizo, saffron and chickpea stew


Monkfish, chorizo, saffron and chickpea stew

One of the things I’ve been trying to do in the current crisis is to support local producers and importers who are obviously affected by the closing down of restaurants and pubs.

So I ordered a box of goodies from Bristol-based Mevalco which imports gorgeous produce from Spain it’s up to now being supplying to Spanish restaurants and tapas bars.

One of the ingredients was a kilo of monkfish and this is what I built around it using two other ingredients in the box - cooking chorizo and tomate frito - a really natural tasting jar of tomato purée.

It basically makes enough for 8 which you can either eat at home if you’ve family staying with you, stash away in the freezer or share with neighbours, which is what I’m increasingly doing - particularly those that work for the NHS.

Don’t feel bound to follow the recipe religiously - it’s always possible to vary a recipe depending on what you’ve got.

Serves 8

250g cooking chorizo (or you could use cubed pancetta or bacon and add pimenton to the stew)

4 tbsp olive oil

1 kg monkfish (or cod though it will break up more) cut into generously sized pieces

150ml glass of dry white wine

A good pinch of saffron

1 large or 2 medium onions

2 large cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped or crushed

Half a large jar of tomato frito or passata or a tin and a half of chopped tomatoes

1 jar or 2 tins of cooked chickpeas or an equivalent amount of freshly cooked chickpeas

A dash of nam pla (Thai fish sauce) if you have some

Chopped parsley or coriander (see method)

Salt and pepper

Cut the chorizo into chunks unless it’s already cubed. Heat two tablespoons of oil in a large casserole and fry the chorizo until it starts to brown. Remove from the casserole with a slotted spoon and set aside. Brown the monkfish pieces in batches in the fat that remains in the pan, removing them as they cook. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, working off any stuck on bits of fish or chorizo. Pour into a bowl, add the saffron and leave to infuse. Heat the remaining oil in the pan and cook the onion over a low heat until soft. Add the chopped or crushed garlic and cook for another minute then tip in the tomato frito or passata and simmer for a couple of minutes*. (If you use whole or chopped tomatoes break them up a bit). Add back the chorizo, monkfish, saffron infusion and the drained, rinsed chickpeas and bring back up to simmering point. Season with salt, pepper and a dash of nam pla which accentuates the fishiness of any fish dish then cook gently until the monkfish is tender (about half an hour. If you’re using cod only about 10 minutes). If you’re serving it straight away check the seasoning then stir in a good handful of chopped parsley or coriander, otherwise portion up and freeze and add the parsley at the last minute.

* I also added half a glass of water so as not to make it too intensely tomatoey

What to drink: Well there’s dry white wine in it so makes sense to drink a similar wine with it. Albarino, picpoul, muscadet, most dry Italian whites. A dry rosé would work too or even an inexpensive basic rioja

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