Cabbage Chickpea & Chorizo Soup

I really, really dislike the gym (I’m not going to say “hate” because Santa may be listening). I don’t like being in a room filled with other people while all of you are on machines going nowhere. I don’t like the classes either. I don’t like exercise for exercise’s sake. I don’t like that I have to pay my hard earned moolahs for all that either. There are not many things I really, really dislike, but this is one of them.

C and my mom, on the other side of the spectrum, love the gym. They are all about sweat, and “pushing it”, and trainers, and endorphins, and other things that I don’t understand. I love you two...but spare me your endorphins!

Mom: You should really go to the gym sweetie.

Me: But going to the gym makes me sad.

Mom: That’s impossible! Exercise gives you endorphins and endorphins make you happy! (My mother = Legally Blond fan)

Hmmm. If that’s the case, then I wonder what is that euphoria I feel when I slip a piece of perfectly seasoned roasted bone marrow in my mouth? Does it have a fancy chemical name too? :)

Well, the endorphin gang eventually proved stronger than my weak tush and I have bowed down to mother/husband pressure and bought a pair of trainers. With a vague promise of some physical activity. And a couple of days ago I did what I said I would never do again...I stepped a trainer'd foot (they feel weird and puffy!) in a gym and got on one of those machines that go nowhere.

What does this have to do with cabbage, chickpeas, and chorizo? Nothing really. Except they make me happy...and happy people will (hopefully) not complain too much about going to the gym ;)

Cabbage Chickpea & Chorizo Soup
  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium-large white onion, sliced into half-moons
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 pieces chorizo Bilbao (about 200 grams), sliced
  • 1/4 cup (or a good fat glug) of white wine
  • 1 400-gram can chopped or crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon pimenton de la vera (Spanish smoked paprika)
  • Generous pinch of dried oregano
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 400-gram can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 – 1 whole cabbage (whole cabbage about 600-650 grams), whole cabbage cut into eighths, or half cabbage cut into 4 wedges*
  • Optional: Some ham bits (a small handful if you’ve got them around)
  • Sea salt only if needed

- In a nice and roomy soup pot, heat a couple of glugs of olive oil. Add the garlic and onions and sauté until onions are soft.
- Add chorizo, ham bits (if you’ve got them) and fry until the chorizo is cooked and the nice orange oil is all over the place. When it’s all sizzling, deglaze the pan with white wine and scrape up all the stuck bits.
- Add tomatoes, pimenton, oregano, and black pepper, and simmer until thick and pulpy.
- Add chickpeas, give it a few stirs, and then add stock and water. Simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all the flavours blend. Taste and adjust seasoning.
- When it’s just about done, add cabbage, cover pot, and cook until cabbage is soft (about 15-20 minutes), checking occasionally to make sure it doesn’t scorch. Taste again and adjust seasoning if needed.

*Use a whole cabbage only if you are a fervent cabbage-lover like I am. The whole cabbage really takes over the pot and the soup becomes very chunky, but this is how I like it. I figure a half cabbage or so will do for a soupier soup.

This soup was inspired by a recipe I found in Donna Hay magazine issue #38 for Cabbage and Chickpea Soup. I added the chorizo and changed the procedure...and this was the result! It’s now in our “regular dishes” notebook (a furry purple one given to me by my godchild) in between the chilli and my mom’s tortilla de patata. This is a robust soup that makes a good meal in itself, maybe with some nice bread (the type you buy from the French guy at your market) . It is particularly good when it’s raining (as it has been this week). Or if you are in need of coddling after a sweaty gym-episode that left you with a blister on you right ankle.

So, did I feel those much-lauded endorphins in the gym? Let’s just say I felt more toe-curling satisfaction from this soup than from being on the machine. But, I do admit I need more action (the moving around type) in my life. I just hope to find a less gym-involving action before I run through all the songs on my iPod.