Bowl in one: this bean-and-chorizo stew has everything I love about food

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Bowl in one: this bean-and-chorizo stew has everything I love about food

A saucy and unsubtle bowl of bean-and-chorizo stew is Sam Woulidge’s kind of food, attributed to a great food writer and online friend

I confess to laziness. I don’t pride myself on it but I do own my faults. And in the same way as I walk and don’t run and prefer sitting to standing, I like one-pot dishes that require minimal fuss. I also don’t plate; I pour. Bowl food is my kind of food. Food that requires just one hand to eat, leaving the other free to reach for the glass of wine. I also like making a large pot of anything. Because it’s not so much the taste of leftovers I love, but rather how little effort is required the next day.

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I like punchy foods and fearless conversations. I’m big on onions and garlic and chilli. I am not subtle, and nor is my food. And while I cannot say that my loved ones embrace all these qualities, I do believe that they have come to accept them. And I love them for it. So I make this rosemary, butter bean and chorizo stew for them, because the making of delicious, warming food is also an act of love.

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I chanced upon a similar version of this recipe by Melissa Clark as I was idly (of course!) scrolling through The New York Times cookery pages. I was going through my brothy bean phase and there was something about the flavours that reminded me of a recipe that I used to make often a few years ago. It was Sonia Cabano’s rosemary-infused bean stew and came from her book Easy, Simple & Delicious. Sonia was a Facebook friend (in the days when social media was a kinder place). In real life, this beautiful, outspoken, compassionate, fierce and enormously talented chef and food writer intimidated me and our conversations were often awkward but at the same time, for a period of my life, it was her kind words typed and sent over the internet that reached out to me when I needed it most.

Bean-and-chorizo stew

Find the recipe for bean-and-chorizo stew here. 

“Hey, hey live in the present,” she wrote to me when I referred to a particularly painful situation in the past. Or “You are a beautiful woman,” she told me when I felt at my ugliest. “Keep breathing. Just keep breathing,” she instructed me three days after my mom died. “Life is a beautiful thing,” she insisted, when it felt anything but. “I am so happy to see you deeply and intensely being a mamma. You are a mother to a child who chose you specifically,” she wrote, acknowledging what I had always believed. Sonia died in 2021. Rosemary is for remembrance.

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I find this dish honest. It is upfront about its flavours. And the older I get, the more passionate I am about honesty and authenticity. But I have – in the past – served it with some reservations, apologising in advance for its admittedly unsubtle flavours, while still hoping that those at my table would like it. I should stop doing that. This dish isn’t too much. This dish is enough. I am enough.

Sam Woulidge Article by: Sam Woulidge

Cape Town-based writer Sam Woulidge is a regular TASTE columnist, blogger and author of 'Confessions of a Hungry Woman'. Follow her on Twitter @samwoulidge

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