When I originally saw this recipe featured on Gordon Ramsey’s television program, I smiled. This is a recipe my family has known for generations. In his version, he doesn’t use chickpeas, rather cannelloni beans. This recipe has typical Spanish/Moroccan flavours. Most Moroccan Jews have their ancestral roots from Spain.
The Jews’ expulsion from Spain had been headed by Father Tomas de Torquemada. Torquemada believed that as long as the Jews remained in Spain, they would influence the tens of thousands of recent Jewish converts to Christianity to continue practicing Judaism.
The most fortunate of the expelled Jews succeeded in escaping to Turkey. Turkey’s leader, Sultan Bajazet, welcomed them warmly. “How can you call Ferdinand of Aragon a wise king,” he was fond of asking, “the same Ferdinand who impoverished his own land and enriched ours?”
Other Jews managed to flee to neighbouring Portugal. In 1496, King Manuel of Portugal concluded an agreement to marry Isabella, the daughter of Spain’s monarchs. As a condition of the marriage, the Spanish royal family insisted that Portugal expel her Jews. King Manuel agreed, although he was reluctant to lose his affluent and accomplished Jewish community.
Tens of thousands of Jews in Portugal were forcibly converted to Christianity on pain of death. The chief rabbi, Simon Maimi, was one of those who refused to convert. He was kept buried in earth up to his neck for seven days until he died. In the final analysis, all of these events took place because of the relentless will of one man, Tomas de Torquemada.
The Spanish Jews who ended up in Turkey, North Africa, Italy, and elsewhere throughout Europe and the Arab world, were known as Sephardim— Sefarad being the Hebrew name for Spain. Of the dozens of expulsions directed against Jews throughout their history, the one from Spain remains the most infamous.
(The Jewish Virtual Library)
Chorizo and Chickpea stuffed Roasted Chicken
2 c. Chorizo, chopped (If you live in Montreal and you don’t know where to buy Kosher Chorizo, I buy mine from Amsellem. They are located at 5450, Westminister av. in Cote-Saint-Luc)
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
A handful of Fresh thyme
1 can 540ml chickpeas
8-9 sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil
1 large lemon
1 large deboned chicken or 1 large chicken with the bone
olive oil for sautéing
Approx 1 tbsp. paprika
2 cups white wine or 2 cups of water with 2 tbsp chicken consommé stirred in
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place chopped chorizo in a frying pan and sauté in olive oil for a few minutes. Then add the onion and continue to sauté.
- Add chopped garlic and the leaves of fresh thyme.
- Add chickpeas, black pepper and sun-dried tomatoes. Cook until soft and flavours have mended. Reserve this stuffing.
- Salt and pepper the inside of the chicken.
- Fill chicken cavity with stuffing.
- Once all the stuffing is packed in, insert large lemon into cavity and close over with the skin.
- With kitchen twine, tie the chicken legs together to seal the cavity of the chicken and to help hold the lemon in place. You may need someone to help you tie while you hold the chicken legs in place.
- Sprinkle olive oil, salt, pepper and paprika over chicken skin. Rub it all over the top of the chicken.
- Place white wine or chicken stock in pan then place the chicken inside the pan.
- Arrange thyme around chicken and place one whole garlic head near chicken in the roasting dish.
- Cover tightly with foil and cook for 1 hour if you kept the chicken bone-in. If the bone is out cook for 40 minutes. Remove foil and continue to cook uncovered for 30 minutes if bone-in and another 10 minutes if bone is out.
- Once the chicken is cooked, cut the twine and dig out all the stuffing. Place the stuffing in a bowl. Slice the lemon in two and using a strainer, strain the juice of the lemon over the chickpeas/chorizo stuffing.
- Remove the garlic head and squeeze out the garlic cloves onto a plate. mash the soft cloves with a fork and then mix it into the chickpea/chorizo stuffing.
- Cut up the chicken and place on a serving dish. Serve it with a bowl of the chickpea/chorizo stuffing on the side. You can also sprinkle more fresh thyme leaves over the chicken to garnish. Enjoy.