Friday, January 25, 2013

Healthy Cod, Chorizo & Chickpea Ragu

I’m a huge fan of fish, and it’s nearly always the item on a menu that I’ll choose when I’m dining out. Its delicious, low fat, and extremely nutritious; what’s not to like?! These are my three key requirements now that I’m eating for two. I’m told that fish is one of the most nutritious sources of protein to help baby’s brain grow……all the more reason to pack more fish into the diet for the last 10 weeks.

I often see versions of cod and bean ragu on menus in restaurants; which nearly always choose given the chance. I always say ‘I must try this at home’; but I never have…until now. My version is very Spanish/Portuguese inspired; with saffron and chorizo used to give a deep smoky flavour to the broth. The fennel will add a punchy aniseed bite to the dish, and the chickpeas will give comforting warmth; much needed on rainy days such as today. The star of the show is the cod, which holds its own surprisingly well amongst all the strong flavours.  This indeed is a flavourful, low fat winter warmer.

This dish can be treated as a wonderful one pot wonder, left just as it is. Alternatively you could bulk it up with baby potatoes, crusty bread to soak up the broth; or as I’m doing this time round, healthy wholegrain rice.  This dish would be quite an impressive bistro style meal if you are having friends over for a casual dinner.

Serves 2


·         2 portions of cod
·         ½ bulb of fennel
·         1 tsp of fennel seeds, crushed
·         1 tsp of smoked paprika
·         Salt/pepper
·         Glass of dry white wine
·         1 lemon, zested and juiced
·         1 small tin of chickpeas, rinsed
·         4 inch size piece of chorizo, sliced thinly
·         1 garlic clove, crushed
·         ½ red onion, sliced thinly
·         250g cherry tomatoes, halved
·         1 tsp of tomato puree
·         1 handful of chopped flat leaf parsley
·         Olive oil

Optional serving suggestions:
·         Crushy bread loaf, sliced
·         New baby potatoes
·         Rice
·         Green Beans
·         Extra lemon wedges


1.       Using a large deep frying pan, fry off the garlic, onion, half the crushed fennel seeds, and chorizo on a medium heat, in a little olive oil.
2.       Add the tomatoes, tomato puree and paprika  and sliced fennel and continue to fry off
3.       Add the wine and allow to bubble, then reduce to a simmer.(add some water if mixture too thick)
4.       Place the cod, skin side down in the pan and cover the pan with a lid, to create steam.
5.       Finally, season with salt, pepper and lemon zest and juice, when the cod is 95% cooked.
6.       Add the chickpeas to warm through and to soak up all the wonderful flavours.
7.       Add the second half of fennel seeds to give the dish a refreshing lift right at the end, along with the chopped herbs.

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