This is part II of a three-part post I will refer to as, A Taste of Spain
Part I: Squid and White Beans with Balsamic Reduction; Part II: Chickpeas with Black Sausage, Pine Nuts, & Raisins; and Part III: Rock Shrimp (or baby clams) with Eggs (to follow).
All three of these dishes remind me of my wonderful time in Spain, and I’m more than happy to share my inspiration with you.  The great thing about these dishes is that they require only a few ingredients and are easy to prepare.  Dish them out onto small plates and you’ll have yourself a nice little assortment of tapas, for a party, perhaps?  Oh, maybe include a batch of bacon wrapped dates stuffed with chorizo; will have to make some soon.  And, some bacalao (cod) fritters…

That being said, I must confess, this dish is not made with just any old pork sausage.  Rather,  it’s traditionally made with blood sausage — a mixture of pork, pork blood, grains, and spices.

I know I’ve probably lost many of you with the mere mention of blood sausage, but’s that had I had this dish in Spain and it was deslish.  The famed Bar Pintxos at the Boqueria in Barcelona was my inspiration for this dish.  The blood sausage (called Morcilla in Spain) adds that earthy, minerally quality.  It just works.

Okay, now that I’ve got that out there, I hope you’re still on board.  I picked up some blood sausage from a local D.C. charcuterie artisan.  If you can’t stomach the idea of blood sausage, feel free to substitute with your favorite pork sausage or even better, lamb sausage.  Something that has just a bit of ‘gaminess’ to it.   Of note, the blood sausage adds a distinctive, earthy taste that, in my opinion, makes this dish unique.

This is my recreation of the the chickpea and blood sausage I fondly remember having on my first morning after landing in Spain.  The onion confit was my addition.

Added a touch of hot smoked Spanish paprika for a smoky element and to counterbalance the sweetness of the raisins.  And topped the finished dish with a sprinkle of coarse sea salt to create a nice balance of sweet and salty.

Prepping all the ingredients ahead of time makes assembly a breeze.  You can cook the chickpeas (garbanzo beans) and confit the onions a few days in advance.  Just store in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature when you’re ready to use.

Chickpeas with Sausage, Pine Nuts, & Raisins

3 cups cooked chickpeas
1/4 cup seedless white raisins
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
6 ounces blood sausage, casing removed, chopped into small pieces
1 cup onion confit (refer to recipe below)
2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, mixed with large pinch hot smoked paprika
3 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
coarse sea salt

Heat 2 tablespoons of the paprika-infused oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat.  When hot add the blood sausage and cook, breaking up the sausage until crumbled.  Add the onions.  Add the raisins and pine nuts.  Stir to incorporate.  Add the cooked chickpeas and parsley. Stir until the chickpeas are well incorporated and hot.  Serve with a drizzle of paprika infused olive oil and a sprinkling of coarse sea salt.

Onion Confit

2 large onions, peeled, cut in half, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (olive oil or combination of oil and butter)
1 tablespoon sugar (used coconut sugar)
3 sprigs thyme
1 cup red wine
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Brown the butter in a large pan over medium heat.  Add the onions, season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, until onions soften.  Stir in the sugar and cook, covered, a few more minutes to allow the sugar to caramelize slightly.  Add the thyme sprigs, red wine, and red and sherry vinegar.

Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for ~1 to 1 1/4 hours, until the liquid is cooked down to a syrup, stirring from time to time, more often once it gets close to an hour.

Note:  You can prepare the onion confit in advance

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