Simply Spanish

Neil Perry
Spanish style chorizo, saffron and chickpea soup.
Spanish style chorizo, saffron and chickpea soup. Photo: William Meppem


1/2 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 good-quality chorizo sausages, chopped into 1cm slices

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 small red onion, finely diced

very small pinch of saffron

80ml good-quality dry sherry

1 1/2 litres fresh chicken stock


1 large potato, peeled, cut into 1cm dice

1 small green zucchini, trimmed, halved lengthways, cut into 1cm dice

1 bunch English spinach, washed, leaves picked, roughly shredded

Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper

Serves 6-8

Drain the chickpeas, rinse and place in a saucepan of fresh water. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes or until tender. Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add chorizo and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until browned. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. To the same pan add the garlic, onion and saffron. Reduce heat and cook, stirring, until onions have softened.

Add the sherry and deglaze the pan, scraping the base with a wooden spoon.

Add the stock and potato and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes.

Add the zucchini and cook until it has softened. Stir through the chickpeas, spinach and chorizo, and cook for a few minutes until just heated through. Season to taste and serve immediately.



1 cup plain flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

3/4 cup caster sugar

1 cup water

1 tbsp olive oil

vegetable oil for shallow frying

1 tsp cinnamon

Serves 4

Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and 1 tsp of the caster sugar into a bowl.

Bring water to the boil and add the olive oil. Pour the liquid over the dry ingredients and mix together with a wooden spoon until smooth.

Pour enough vegetable oil into a shallow frying pan to reach a depth of 4-5cm and heat to 170˚C.

Spoon the mixture into a piping bag with a large star nozzle. You want your dough to be in lengths of around 6cm, so, using a sharp knife or kitchen scissors, cut off each length as you go. Fry the churros in batches for 3-4 minutes, turning until they are golden brown, then drain on paper towel.

Combine remaining caster sugar and cinnamon in a wide shallow bowl and roll the churros in the cinnamon sugar.

Serve with chocolate or melt some white or dark chocolate with milk for dipping.


• The soup would welcome the addition of diced chicken thigh - or even prawns - and is great with flat bread to dip.

• Cavalo nero (Tuscan cabbage) would be a fantastic substitute for the English spinach.

• Try a pinch of smoky paprika on top of the soup to introduce a tiny change that can make a big difference.


Sherry is often associated with sweet, oxidised wines best used for cooking but at its best it is refreshing, tangy and perfect with food. Sanchez Romate NPU Amontillado (about $40) from Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, is the type of sherry that exists for dishes like this soup. Its hazelnut and green olive flavour adds depth and warmth, while allowing the saffron to have a voice.

Photography by William Meppem. Styling by Hannah Meppem. Food by preparation Kirsten Jenkins.