As with most of my Spanish recipes, I learnt this potage from my mum who in turn learnt it from my grandmother.
There are two Spanish techniques in this recipe: chascar and sofrito. I have talked about chascar before and have an explanation of it here. There are lots of types of sofritos but the one in this recipe is basically lightly fried garlic with pimenton and flour. This sofrito is then chucked into pan with the other ingredients when the water comes to a boil. This sofrito is commonly used as the base for a myriad of spanish soups and stews such as Spanish Style Lentils.
In the UK, I can never seem to find the acelgas (chard) that we use in Spain; the closest I’ve found is swiss chard. If you can’t find this vegetable you can substitute for spinach too, which is also used a lot in this particular potage.
To drastically cut down on cooking time (and perhaps because I am lazy), I prefer to use cooked chickpeas but if you prefer, go ahead and use the dried stuff.
Serrano ham,1cm thick strips (not sliced serrano ham-can substitute for pancetta)
6 cooking chorizos
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1 Tbsp. sweet pimenton (or paprika)
2 Tbsp. plain flour
2 tsp. grated nutmeg
3 large potatoes, chascadas or cut into chunks
500g cooked chickpeas, washed and drained
1 large bundle of chard (can substitute for spinach), chopped
3 Tbsp. dried breadcrumbs or 1 Tbsp cornflour (optional)
1 In a large pan, boil serrano ham and chorizo with enough cold water to completely cover the ingredients. When it begins to boil, skim off the impurities and white froth.
2 Make a sofrito by frying garlic in plenty olive oil, enough to completely cover the bottom of a frying pan. Add pimenton and flour and fry for a few seconds. Add this sofrito into the pan of water with the other ingredients once it has come to a boil.3 Add, 1 tsp nutmeg, salt, potatoes and if using chard; add the stalks at this stage as they take longer to cook than the leafy part. Simmer on a low flame for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are nearly cooked.4 If at this stage the potage is too thin for your liking you can add some dried breadcrumbs to help thicken it up. Add the chickpeas and the leafy part of the chard and cook for circa 5 minutes. Take off heat, sprinkle with nutmeg, cover and let it stand for 5 minutes.