Over the past few weeks as I’ve really thrown myself into slow cooker cooking I’ve been searching high and low for new and interesting recipes.
This Slow Cooker Spanish-inspired Chickpea and Chorizo stew is probably my most independently created one, based on a conversation with a friend about a meal she remembers eating over 15 years ago when she lived in Spain.
As it is my interpretation of her memory mixed in with one of my favourite store cupboard staples (the holy chickpea) I am hugely conscious it is probably nothing like any dish ever made or served in Spain! That word ‘inspired’ covers a multitude of my own humble cooking sins for sure.
One of the other lovely things about this dish is that you can make it fully vegetarian really easily by simply excluding the chorizo element or replacing the meat chorizo with a plant based version which are readily available in most supermarkets these days and cost roughly the same.
Whilst it is a stew, it’s a far cry from the brown stewy dishes of my youth being pumped with flavours that are brilliantly soaked up and given new life through the potatoes and the chickpeas. I think you could easily take this recipe up a level by adding more veg – peppers and courgettes feel like an obvious pairing to chuck in the mix too and I think adding some fresh parsley at the end would’ve been nice too.
Leftovers for lunch
Again it was an economical meal to make with six servings coming in at either 71p per head with the half can of wine, or 53p per head without. My partner and I ate our fill at dinner, had a portion each for lunch the next two days which was incredibly nice and warming (and quite healthy too!).
Recipe serves 6
For Slow Cooker Spanish inspired chickpea and chorizo stew you will need…
A slow cooker!
125 – 150g chorizo – sliced and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic crushed
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 – 3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
Half a can of red wine (optional)
1 x can chopped tomatoes
2 x cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
Salt and pepper
Couple of handfuls of baby spinach
Start by frying the sliced and chopped chorizo in a pan. It creates its own oil so you shouldn’t really need more than a dribble to get it going and then the chorizo turns the oil all beautifully spicy and paprika-ry. Fry the meat for a few minutes only then using a slotted spoon or spatula, take the meat out and transfer it to the slow cooker.
You want to have kept as much of that spicy oil in the pan as possible as this will now add flavour to your onions which go in next and are fried on a medium-low heat until they are translucent. Then add the crushed garlic for a minute or so before adding the potatoes and have the smoked paprika. Fry the potatoes on a medium heat for about 5 to ten minutes.
Add the can of tomatoes and bring to a bubbling simmer. Stir in the rest of the paprika and if you like and you have an open bottle kicking around the kitchen (I don’t usually but did on this occasion!) you can chuck in a half can of red wine at this point too.
Add the chickpeas to the mix briefly before tipping all of it into the slow cooker to cook on low for around 4 -5 hours – the main focus being to get those potato chunks nice and tender.
About five minutes before the end grab a couple of handfuls of baby spinach and stir them into the pot. Leave to cook for another 5 minutes or so until they have wilted before serving up.
We ate ours with a sprinkling of cheese on top and mopped up all the delicious juices with some yummy garlic bread.
Energy cost saving
If I was making this without the slow cooker, I would probably do the whole thing in my cookpot on the hob. Research suggests that using a hob costs about 68p an hour and I think all in I’d probably cook this dish for around 90 minutes on the hob, maybe longer depending on the softness of the potatoes. That would bring the cooking cost in at somewhere in the region of £1.00.
Instead I would say I spent about 20 minutes cooking on the hob which equates to rough 22p and 5 hours in the slow cooker which equates to about 25p (at approximately 5p per hour). That brings the slow cooker cooking cost in at 47p, which is an energy saving of 50%.
Costing of ingredients based on Aldi pricing at 11th Dec 2022 (Serves 6)
125 – 150g chorizo – sliced and chopped 1.18
1 medium onion, chopped 0.10
2 cloves garlic crushed 0.04
2 teaspoons smoked paprika 0.15
2 – 3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced 0.31
Half a can of red wine (optional) 1.06
1 x can chopped tomatoes 0.32
2 x cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained 0.90
Salt and pepper
Couple of handfuls of baby spinach 0.20
Total cost 4.26 71p per portion, to feed 6 people
This recipe was created by Rebecca Megson-Smith. A writer, writing coach and feminist, fuelled by books, tea and time by the sea. You can find her on her website, Instagram @ridleywrites and lurking on Twitter @ridleywrites.