Okay – this is a great recipe from Spain – Potato and Chickpea Stew with Picada and Romesco Sauce. It looks involved but it’s not hard. There are a number of steps but it’s all pretty easy and straightforward. Enjoy. Make double. Chin Chin. From Deborah Madison. (Oh, and I keep the extra Romesco Sauce for sandwiches and dips!)

Potato and Chickpea Stew

Ingredients:

1 lb. waxy-fleshed potatoes

3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 large onion, diced

2 large cloves garlic, minced

2 generous pinches saffron

2 large red bell peppers, diced

1 large yellow or red bell pepper, cut into 1-in.-wide strips

1 heaping tsp. sweet paprika

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

1/2 cup medium-dry sherry

2 cups crushed tomatoes with juice

2-1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (or two 15-oz. cans, rinsed)

3 cups chickpea broth or water

1-1/2 tsp. salt

Freshly ground pepper

Romesco sauce (see below)

Picado (see below)

Chopped parsley for garnish

4 generous servings

If using fingerling potatoes, halve them lengthwise. Large round potatoes can be cut into thick rounds or quartered.

Warm the oil in a wide pot with the onion, garlic, saffron, peppers, and potatoes. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring gently every now and then, until the potatoes are tender-firm, about 25 min. Add the paprika, parsley, and red pepper flakes, and cook 3 to 4 min. Add the sherry and cook until the juices are thick and syrupy, about 12 min.

Add the tomatoes, chickpeas, and broth or water to cover. Season with salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper, then cover and cook over low heat until the potatoes are completely tender, about 20 min. If the stew is soupy and you plan to serve it right away, stir in 1/4 cup picada (or more if necessary) to thicken it. If you don’t plan to serve the stew for 1 hour of mor, it may not need the bread crumbs since it will thicken as it stands. Serve in soup plates with any additional picada sprinkled over the top along with the extra parsley. Add a spoonful of the Romesco sauce to each bowl and pass the rest.

Romesco Sauce

Ingredients:

2 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, and seeded

1/4 cup almonds, roasted

1/4 cup hazelnuts, roasted and peeled

1 slice country-style white bread

Olive oil for frying

3 cloves garlic

1-1/2 tsp. ground red chile or red pepper flakes

4 small plum tomatoes, roughly chopped

1 tbsp. chopped parsley

1/2 tsp. salt

Freshly ground pepper

1 tsp. sweet paprika

1/4 cup sherry vinegar

1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Makes 2 cups

This Catalan sauce is utterly delicious served with chickpeas, roasted potatoes,

or grilled vegetables.

To roast the peppers, place them under a broiler or over a gas flame until the skins are charred. Put them in a bowl, cover with a plate, and set aside for 15 min. Peel and seed the peppers.

Roast the nuts in a 350°F oven for 7 to 10 min., or until they smell toasty. Let them cool slightly, and then rub the hazelnuts between the folds of a towel to remove loose skins. (The almonds don’t need peeling.)

Fry the bread in a little olive oil until golden and crisp. When the bread is cool, grind it with the nuts and garlic in a food processor or a mortar until fairly fine. Add everything else but the vinegar and oil and process or work with the pestle until smooth. With the machine running, or your arm working if you’re using a mortar and pestle, gradually pour in the vinegar, then the oil. Taste to make sure the sauce has enough salt and plenty of piquancy.

Picada

A lively seasoning of fried bread, and garlic, picada is used in Spanish dishes as a thickener and flavouring. Picada is also a good addition to pasta and plain vegetables. To make 1/2 cup picada, toast 1/4 cup peeled almonds in a 350F oven until they’re pale gold, 8 – 10 minutes. Remove and set aside. Meanwhile, slowly fry one slice of white country-style bread in 2 tbsps olive oil until golden on both sides. Grind the bread, almonds, and 2 large garlic cloves and pinch of salt in a food processor to make a crumbly paste.

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