So much of what I want to cook at the moment is about recreating flavours I experienced overseas. This is one of those dishes. It’s simple, comforting and full of flavour. And one of those flavour memories from traveling that I just keep coming back to.
I ate a version of this dish in Segovia, Spain on a day trip from Madrid. Segovia is famous for a few things: and ancient Roman Aqueduct, a cathedral, a Disney sequel castle and roast suckinling pig. You’re probably wondering what on earth prawns and chickpeas have to do with any of this but hear me out.
I was by myself in Segovia and early in the day I ran into a another solo female traveller (Emma) and we hung out exploring the main sites, having impromptu photo shoots directed by Emma (I’ve included some evidence of these!) and just generally wandering.
We parted ways just before lunch as Emma was only doing a half day so I went to find some of the cities famous Roast suckling pig. Choosing a restaurant to eat at is no easy task as everyone is trying to claim that there’s is the best, with the most amazing method etc. I decided to try go searching for a a little restaurant that had been recommended because I really wanted a yummy lunch experience (my travel priorities are clear!).
I found the delicious experience I was after at El Redebal. And it was amazing! The skin of the suckling pig was so crisp it shattered when you cut into it, and the pork itself was juicy and tender. But it’s not this that stayed with me, probably because I can’t eat that much of that sort of thing before I start to feel a little ill… which is a pity when you’re lunching alone! What stayed with meand I really wanted to recreate myself was the little starter I had. Actually it was generous not little and probably a big part of the reason I couldn’t finish the star attraction!
It was a dish of prawns cooked in a red broth with tender chickpeas. Crusty fresh bread was served on the side for soaking up that broth. The broth was rich and full of paprika, saffron and Spanish olive oil and it was just so good. So delicious I’ve been wanting to create something similar ever since. Maybe I also focused on this one because I’m not likely to attempt suckling pig at home? leave tat one to the experts with the right equipment and all that jazz.
And here you have it. My version of that delicious dish which is probably not that true to the original but is just as comforting and flavoursome. Plus it’s quick to cook and really filling thanks to the chick peas. I know I’ll be making this regularly and thinking of castles and cobblestone streets…
450g prawns, shells on
1 Tbs olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 tsp paprika
2 Tbs finely chopped parsley
1 shallot finely diced (optional)
1/2 cup white wine
generous pinch of saffron
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
2 cups stock
1 can chickpeas, drained
salt to taste
extra olive oil to finish
lemon wedges and flat leaf parsley to serve
Shell prawns, and place the shells in a small pot with the stock. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Strain and keep warm.
Finely chop 2 prawns. Heat olive oil in a medium sauce pan and add finely chopped prawn, garlic, tomato, parsley stems, shallot and paprika. Fry on medium low heat until softened, 3-5 minutes.
Add the white wine and bring to boil, simmer for a few minutes. Add stock, saffron and chickpeas and bring to a boil, simmer for 10 minutes. Add prawns and cook for a few minutes until prawns have changed colour and are cooked through. Check seasoning and adjust to taste? Finish with a swirl of olive oil.
Serve sprinkled with flat leaf parsley. Le,on wedges and crusty bread to dip I’m on the side.