I'm currently trying to teach someone how to cook. I'm paid to teach people how to cook, so I really shouldn't even break a sweat on this one. I've taught plenty of young aspiring apprentices over the years - hell, I'm still trying to teach myself in many ways. Teaching this home cook how to knock up a few easy and nourishing meals should really have been a breeze.
You know what - It was a damn killer.
The problem is, this person I'm trying to learn-up at the stove, well - she just plain doesn't want to cook.. She absolutely detests cooking; from the buying to the chopping to the stirring to the washing up. If it wasn't for the twin motivational tools of abject-hunger and near-malnutrition, she would never have even asked me how to boil water. Here is the brief she gave me. She works a full time job, 9-5 style, so whatever I taught her would need to be quick and easy from fridge to plate. She didn't even feel like cooking every night, so any recipe I shared would need to be easy to cook in a large pot, and keep well for later in the week. Plus, washing up is on par with cooking as an un-earthly evil for her, so if at all possible, these gastronomic forays would do very well to be conducted in just the one pot.
All of the above adds up to one major headache when trying to come up with a half decent dish, but the worst was yet to come. The shopping - she hates that too. Rushing out to buy this item or that at the last moment was a definite no-no. This means most of the ingredients will need to be drawn from provisions already in the pantry - bought well ahead of time, and supplemented with a few fresh ingredients that can be picked up at the local store. I should have simply admitted defeat and retired to the tavern for an ale. Really.
Instead, I came up with this hearty, nourishing, one-pot braise. Sure - I still needed the ales once I was done, but my pupil has learned a recipe she may well actually use, and I now have a quick recipe that even I use when I'm busted for time and ravenous. Hopefully you will find it a little useful too.
The idea is loosely lifted from Spanish cuisine. Well, to be honest, the combination of chorizo, chickpeas and paprika is Spanish, but from there this dish takes its own course and more than a little license. It's nearing mid-winter in my part of the world, so this dish is just right to fend off those icy blasts. It is simply delicious in a richly-flavoured, rib-sticking way - and did I mention it is easy to make? Well - it had to be.
Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based pot. Add the garlic, onion, carrots and celery and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chorizo, paprika, capsicum, lemon rind, tomatoes and 1 canful of water using the tomato can and bring to the simmer. Cover the pot and lower the heat to a gentle bubble. Cook for 30 minutes. Pour in the chickpeas, along with their liquid - then add the parsley, salt and pepper. Cook for a further 5 minutes.
Ladle out into deep bowls, grind over some more pepper and serve with piles of fresh bread, or some boiled new potatoes, or perhaps as I did - alongside Risoni with lemon, garlic and parsley.
Any leftovers, need it be said, last well for 4 or 5 days. See - that wasn't so hard - right?