This Spanish-style stew is packed with tons of flavor and highlights saffron, sherry vinegar, and Spanish chorizo. Chorizo as you know comes in two forms – Spanish, which is a cured, firm sausage, and the Mexican version, a spicy ground pork which you may remember I used in the pan-grilled chicken with vegetables and chorizo confetti here.
I like both chorizos because they are so different, not only in texture, but in taste. Where the Mexican needs to be cooked and is hot and spicy and a little goes a long way, the Spanish chorizo has a depth of flavor that comes from smoky paprika and is fully cooked and ready to eat with your favorite cheese and wine.
The two chorizos are not interchangeable and Mexican chorizo should not be substituted in this recipe. Imported Spanish chorizo can be found at La Tienda and Amazon, two on-line sources. Goya also makes a version that is available in supermarkets. The one shown below is from Palacio and is an authentic Spanish chorizo made from a generations-old recipe by a family owned company in La Rioja and was the first Spanish brand to be available in the US.
Saffron threads and Spanish sherry vinegar are the other major flavoring ingredients in the stew and can be found in most large supermarkets and specialty stores. La Tienda and Amazon stock both on line. It’s handy to have a bottle of sherry vinegar on hand. I use it quite often in many recipes, including two of my favorites - a sophisticated and attractive arugula salad tossed with truffle oil and sherry vinaigrette here, and a French lentil salad with goat cheese here.
The chicken breasts in this recipe are poached, so you’ll want to take great care not to overcook them or they will be tough. If you are in a hurry, purchased rotisserie chicken could be shredded, eliminating the poaching step, but be sure to make up for the cooking liquid that would have accumulated while poaching the chicken. Actually I think we will use rotisserie chicken next time to avoid overcooked stringy chicken. The stew can be made in advance, but if you do, add the shredded chicken when you reheat the stew and stir in the vinegar at the last moment. Wedges of southern-style savory cornbread would be an excellent accompaniment to the stew.
Spanish-style Chicken and Chorizo Stew
Adapted from Cooking Light, serves 4, easily doubled
2 cups fat free, low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 garlic cloves
1 onion, quartered
1 medium carrot, coarsely chopped
2 (6-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of excess fat
6 ounces chopped Spanish chorizo
3 cups cubed red potatoes
1 ½ cups chopped onion
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon saffron threads, dissolved briefly in warm water
1 ½ tablespoons sherry vinegar
Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish
To poach the chicken, combine all of the ingredients except the chicken in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and bring the mixture to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat and simmer about 14 minutes or until chicken is done, checking at about 11 to 12 minutes. Take extra care not to over-cook the chicken or it will be tough and stringy. Remove the chicken, reserving the cooking liquid. Strain the cooking liquid through a fine sieve, save and discard solids. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred and set aside.
Wipe the saucepan with paper towels and sauté the chopped chorizo over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add the potatoes, onion and bell pepper to the pan and sauté 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Salt & pepper the vegetables, then add the garlic, cumin and the saffron and sauté 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the reserved cooking liquid and bring to a simmer. Simmer 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.* Add the shredded chicken and simmer for a minute or two, just to warm the chicken. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the vinegar. Ladle about 1 cup of stew into each of 4 bowls and garnish with chopped parsley. Serve right away.
*Cook’s note: If you are making the stew in advance, stop at this point. Add the chicken when you reheat the stew so as not to make the chicken tough and the stir in the vinegar at the end.