3-19-10

SOPA SECA WITH CHORIZO AND CHICKPEAS

SERVES 2, WITH SECONDS

We’re on quite a winning streak here in New York. This afternoon felt more like May than March: 70 degrees under an unblemished sky, a breeze off the water, and birds singing ecstatically from every newly-budding bush. It’s the kind of weather that invites giddiness: after a long stroll over coffee, J and I rambled home with sunburned cheeks and rumbling stomachs and decided to open this season’s inaugural bottle of rose´– though, after a couple of glasses, it was obvious we’d soon be needing lunch or a nap. Happily, this classic sopa seca, or “dry soup,” assembled out of a ragtag assortment of leftovers and cupboard mainstays was the perfect tipsy solution. A cinch to make, spicy and luscious but entirely unpretentious, it’s comfort food of the highest order. We ate it straight from the pan, smiling between cold spoonfuls of sour cream. And took that nap anyway.

2-3 canned chipotle chiles, plus adobo sauce (or 1/4 cup ancho chile paste, depending on what you have in the house)
1 32 oz. can fire roasted whole tomatoes
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic
1 link chorizo, sliced into 1/4″ rounds
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 package fideos or capellini
1 10 oz can chickpeas
1 cup swiss chard, trimmed and sliced into strips
1/4 cup spanish olives, sliced thinly
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Sour cream or creme fraiche for garnish

1. Heat oven to 400*. Combine chipotles, adobo, tomatoes, onion, and garlic in a blender and puree. Set mixture aside.

2. In a large, high-sided skillet, cook the chorizo over medium heat until just done, about 5 minutes. Leaving the residual fat in the pan, transfer the cooked chorizo to a plate lined with a paper towels.

3. Add olive oil to the same skillet and heat over a medium flame. Add the fideos, breaking them apart if they are in bundles. Toast the noodles, stirring frequently, until they are golden brown.

4. Add the chile mixture, chickpeas, and chard to the skillet with fideos and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Then, lower heat, cover pan and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the fideos have absorbed most of the sauce. Transfer mixture to a 2 quart casserole or gratin dish, stir in chorizo and olives. Sprinkle the parmesan over top, and bake until the cheese is golden and melted, about 10-12 minutes. Serve with sour cream.

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