You know what its like when you haven’t had the motivation to go to the supermarket for a week, and then you get to a long weekend and there are bank holidays and the sun is shining and you would much rather be picnicking out in the sun than even thinking about broaching the entrance of any shop. Even a painful hobbled attempt at a run is better than contemplating shopping. No. I don’t like shopping at the best of times. I tolerate food shopping as its a means to an end. Don’t even get me started on the ordeal that is clothes shopping. Ugh, I shiver at the mere thought.
So when the cupboards and the fridge and even the freezer are rather bare, and the most appealing things you have in the kitchen are a lovely string of fresh chorizo and a plait of garlic straight from Spain, chorizo stew was an obvious solution. It did feel like it needed an accompaniment, not necessarily related. So out of the freezer came some phyllo pastry (for some reason I have 3 boxes in there – who knows what I was thinking), and from the fridge came feta cheese and spinach and kale.
I had seen Spanakopita Triangles on Smitten Kitchen last year some time I think that may even be what some of the phyllo in the freezer was originally intended for, but I had not yet gotten around to trying them. And with a long Sunday afternoon to spare, what better time could there be.
They are not at all difficult, although I found that the folding of the triangles took a couple of goes to get the method down. They are beautifully simple and relatively healthy, being baked and not fried like their Indian Samoosa cousins. The punchiness of the feta danced beautifully with the mild earthy greenness of the spinach. A hint of nutmeg and black pepper brought it all together.
They were not a typical accompaniment to a chorizo stew, but they were lovely in their own right and fun to make and interesting. The beauty of having ones own kitchen is never having to explain your food choices – but I try so that you lovely people reading this do not thin me crazy. Or more crazy than I really am.
I had an idea of what I wanted as the main components for the Chorizo stew (some new potatoes that needed using, one of the 6 tins of kidney beans I inherited from my dear friend who emigrated last month, chorizo, lotsa garlic and fresh herbs from my pots) and I browsed around online to see what I could find to bring them all together in a delicious way.
I found a basic recipe online and then just threw in a bit extra here and there. The chorizo is so good that there was not much I could do that would make it anything but delicious. It simmered away, cooking the potatoes that nestled between the chorizo medallions, enrobed in a thick, spicy tomato sauce, and as it cooked it filled the house with a delectable aroma. With a glass of Rioja in hand and the sunshine on my face I could almost dream I was in Spain. Oh to dream of faraway, sunny places.
Spicy Chorizo Bean Stew
Adapted from easypeasymeals.com
What you will need:
1 doz new potatoes, quartered
30 ml olive oil
1 red onion
3 (approx 12cm long) chorizo sausages
5 cloves garlic
dried chilli flakes or some fresh chopped chilli
1 1/2 tsps smoked paprika
400g tin of kidney beans
400g tin cannelloni beans
410g tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
1/2 cup of water
2 bay leaves
flat leaf parsley
salt and pepper
What to do:
Place the sliced chorizo in a hot frying pan and cook until the chorizo releases its juices and start to brown.
Remove the chorizo, turn the heat down to medium/low and then place the chopped onion, chilli and garlic into saucepan and cook gently for 10 minutes.
Add chopped chorizo sausage and paprika and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
Add the tinned tomatoes, potato, tomato paste, water and bay leaves and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the beans and simmer or a further 35-45 minutes – or until the pototo is tender.
Turn the heat off and add the chopped parsley and salt and pepper to taste.
From Smitten Kitchen
Makes about 30 pastries
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup sliced spring onions
1 clove garlic, minced
250g baby spinach
100g curly kale
3/4 pound feta, crumbled
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Melt one tablespoon butter in a large heavy skillet over moderate heat, add onions and garlic and saute for a minute, then add the spinach and kale, and cook, stirring, until wilted and tender, an additional 4 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat and cool, about 10 minutes. Press mixture in mesh colander to remove as much liquid as possible, then coarsely chop. Transfer to a bowl and stir in feta, nutmeg and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let filling cool and follow instructions for phyllo triangles below.
To make 30 pastries
Filling of choice
10 (17- by 12-inch) phyllo sheets, thawed if frozen
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
Preheat oven to 375°F. Melt butter in a small saucepan, then cool. Cover phyllo stack with 2 overlapping sheets of plastic wrap and then a dampened kitchen towel.
Take one phyllo sheet from stack and arrange on a work surface with a long side nearest you (keeping remaining sheets covered) and brush with some butter. Top with another phyllo sheet and brush with more butter. Cut buttered phyllo stack crosswise into 6 (roughly 12- by 2 3/4-inch) strips.
Put a heaping teaspoon of filling near one corner of a strip on end nearest you, then fold corner of phyllo over to enclose filling and form a triangle. Continue folding strip (like a flag), maintaining triangle shape. Put triangle, seam side down, on a large baking sheet and brush top with butter. Make more triangles in same manner, using all of phyllo.
Bake triangles in middle of oven until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool slightly.