Chorizo & Cannellini Bean Stew with Garlic & Chilli Bread

This is one of the fastest tracks to deliciousness. The three key ingredients are all Spanish: a chorizo sausage, some piquillo peppers and some paprika. If you have these to hand, you are ready to go. It’s amazing how the spiciness of the chorizo and the paprika breathe life into the cannellini beans. Starting off with ciabatta or a crusty loaf from a market, the chilli in the butter provides a jolt and then a contrasting heat with the milder spicing of the beans.

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To prepare the Chorizo & Cannellini Bean Stew with Garlic & Chilli Bread

To make the garlic & chilli bread

Preheat the oven to 200˚C, 180˚C Fan, 400˚F, Gas 6.

Mix the garlic, parsley and spring onion together. Add the butter, olive oil and chilli powder and mash together with a fork or a wooden spoon. Mix until all the ingredients are blended together. Split the baguette or ciabatta loaf in half. Spread a thick layer of the garlic and chilli butter on the cut side of the bread and top with Parmesan cheese. Wrap in tinfoil and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Unwrap the foil and leave in the oven for about 5 minutes until the Parmesan browns a little. Serve immediately. If not using straight away, keep wrapped in the tinfoil.

Cannellini bean stew

Heat a saucepan over medium heat. Drizzle in the oil and when hot, add the chopped onion. Season with salt, turn down the heat to low, cover and cook for about 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent and completely tender. Stir a few times during the cooking. Add the garlic, thyme and dried chilli and continue to cook for another 30 seconds before adding the diced chorizo. Cook over a low heat until the oil releases from the chorizo and the onions become a lovely rusty color. Chop the piquillo peppers or roasted peppers into strips and add to the pot along with smoked paprika and a pinch of chilli flakes (if you wish). Continue to cook for a few minutes to allow the flavours to infuse. Strain and rinse the cannellini beans, discarding the liquid. Add the beans to the saucepan, along with the stock. Simmer gently for about 5 minutes. Just before serving, spoon in the cr.me fraîche. Taste to check the seasoning. Remove the sprig of thyme and the dried chilli.

Serve in a bowl along with the chilli bread. Garnish with chopped parsley or coriander.

Roasting peppers in the oven

Preheat the oven to 240˚C, 220˚C Fan, 475˚F, Gas 9.

Place the peppers on a baking tray. Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes until they become partially blackened and the skin becomes blistered. Remove from the oven. Using the tip of a small knife, peel away the skin and discard. It’s easier to peel the peppers as soon as they emerge from the oven as the skin comes away in much bigger pieces. When cool, remove the core, cut them in half and scrape away the seeds. Cut into strips and use as directed.

Piquillo peppers are small red chillis prized for their sweetness rather than heat. They are grown extensively in Northern Spain where they are roasted over embers and then peeled, deseeded, packed in tins or jars and covered with olive oil. They impart a fruity and smoky flavour. They are one of my favourite store cupboard ingredients.

Ingredients

  • Serves 4

For the garlic & chilli Bread

3 cloves garlic, crushedm
25g parsley, chopped
1 spring onion, finely chopped
100g butter, at room temperature
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tsp chilli powder
1 ciabatta loaf or baguette,
about 280g
50g Parmesan, grated

For the cannellini bean stew

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped (or 2 shallots)
1 clove of garlic, sliced
1 sprig of thyme
1 dried red chilli, left whole
100g chorizo, chopped into fine dice
8 piquillo peppers or 3 roasted
red peppers, peeled 
1 tsp smoked paprika
a pinch of chilli flakes
2 x 400g tin cannellini beans
200ml chicken, vegetable stock (or Marigold bouillon)
1 tbsp crème fraîche
chopped parsley or coriander, to garnish

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