Perhaps this should be retitled “We have a decent bottle of Spanish wine and we had better drink it before it goes off.” My only reservation with that is, while true, it might not tell the recipe story. It is the inspiration but not the dish. So, let’s stick with Spanish Inspired Monkfish, Chorizo and Bean Stew as the title and please forgive the mentions of the seventeen year old bottle of Faustino 1 that went with (and in) the food.
The Wife and I were idling at home on a cold, damp, winter evening. I fancied a nice drop of red. A visit to my much depleted cellar (read: largely empty wine rack in the disused dining room.) suggested it was time to open the bottle of Faustino that had been hanging around for a number of years. Herself also thought this to be a good idea.
There aren’t too many monkfish recipes (not that I know) that would support a robust, seasoned red wine. Monk and chorizo is a great combination. This led me to rummage the presses and see if I could come up with the ingredients for a Spanish style stew to go with the wine. My eventual ingredients list includes a tin of butter beans that have been hanging around the cupboard for nearly as long as the wine.
- 400 grammes of fresh monkfish tail
- 2 uncooked Chorizo sausages
- 1 onion
- Juice of half a lemon
- 2 peppers
- Half a teaspoon of smoked Spanish paprika
- Half a teaspoon of hot Spanish paprika
- 1 tin of butter beans
- 1 tin of tomatoes
- A decent squeeze of tomato purée
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 glass of that 17-year-old Spanish wine
- Flour for dusting
- Oil for frying
- Salt and pepper to taste and for seasoning the dusting flour
The first thing I did was to open the wine. I really believed that after so long in my sub-optimal storage conditions, the wine would have to go straight down the drain. Thankfully, my fears were groundless and I set up a shot, as you do.
To prepare this stew, you need to follow these easy steps. First slice the chorizo into chunks and put them on a medium hot dry pan. We want them to sweat their fat just like a new gym member in January.
While the chorizo is slimming down, chop some onions and add them to the pan.
Soften the onions and then add the peppers that you have sliced while the onions were softening (you know what I mean).
Soften the peppers and then add the bay leaf.
Next add the tomatoes, and everything else in the tin.
Then rinse and add the beans.
Next add the paprika.
Follow this with the tomato paste.
Then man up and pour in some of that gorgeous wine. It is not going to waste. It adds an extra dimension and helps the wine in the glass to integrate with the dish. You will have to trust me on that.
Give the pot a good stir and let it come to a simmer. Slice the monkfish into chunky pieces. Dust them with seasoned flour and, in a different pan, lightly brown them.
Don’t cook them through. Remove them and add them to the stew. Turn off the heat and let the fish finish cooking in the residual heat.
Side note on not over cooking the monkfish: Don’t overcook the monkfish. It will turn to leather faster than you can say “cuero” (That’s Spanish for leather).
Add a sprinkle of parsley and a big squeeze of lemon juice.
Pour a couple of glasses of the Faustino and serve to an appreciative guest or two.
This takes very little time to prepare, as long as you discount the 17 years the wine was hanging around. I would encourage you to try it. “El vino complementa el cocido a la perfección.” as they say in Google Translate.