Hake and Chorizo with White Beans

This is one of those comforting one-pot dishes that is painless to prepare, fills the house with tempting aromas and is all at once comforting, exciting and healthy. It begins by making a stew with onion fried in the fat that oozes out of smoked cooking chorizo. These spicy, plump, little sausages come in packs of 4 (www.foodsunearthed.co.uk) and are a useful way to up grade stewy dishes like this. I like to cut them in half on the slant or chop them in pieces so most mouthfuls get a share. This part of the preparation, adding diced tomato and stock too can be done in advance, then placing fillets of soft but firm hake over the top to steam in the juices. Lovely hake, a slightly softer fleshed cod-like fish, hopefully no longer en route for Spain, instead en route to a fish counter near you. You don’t need anything with this lovely dish except some crusty bread to mop up the spicy, oily juices.

Serves 2
Prep: 20 min
Cook: 35 min

4 smoked cooking chorizo
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion
400g can or jar white beans
2 tomatoes
150ml chicken stock
2 fillets of hake
few sprigs flat leaf parsley or coriander

Halve the chorizo diagonally lengthways or chop into 4 or 5 pieces. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a deep frying/sauté pan over a medium-low heat and gently fry the chorizo until cooked through, the oil oozing into the pan. While that is going on, halve, peel and finely chop the shallot or onion. Boil the kettle and pour boiling water over the tomatoes to immerse. Count to 30, drain, cut out the core in a pointed plug shape, rip off the skin and chop the flesh. Tip the beans into a sieve and rinse (unless you are using Spanish Navarrico haricot beans which come in big jars in delicious liquid). Drain off excess oil from the pan; you want about 1 tbsp and scoop the chorizo onto a plate.  Stir in the onion and cook gently, stirring often, until slippery soft. Return the chorizo, beans, stock and tomatoes and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes until nicely consolidated and not overly wet. You can leave the dish at this stage and reheat later. To finish the cooking, season the fish and place skin-side down on the hot bean stew. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes until the fish is cooked through. Carefully invert with a fish slice, use knife and fork to remove the skin and garnish with chopped herbs. Serve in bowls with fork and spoon.