This Spanish shrimp with chickpeas recipe is one of my favorite dishes I learned in culinary school. I hope you enjoy this delicious combination too!
One of the best things I made last year while in culinary school in Barcelona was a classic Spanish dish called garbanzos con cigalas. This mouth-watering recipe takes the humble chickpea to a whole other level by adding the rich flavor of cigalas (scampi or Norway Lobster) to the dish. Since scampi can be hard to come by depending on where you’re located, I’ve written the recipe using jumbo shrimp. But if you happen to have scampi on hand, please do substitute them!
One important thing about this recipe, however, is the fact that you really do need to use full shrimp or scampi — heads, shells and all. That’s how you’ll get the intense and delicious flavor that this dish is known for.
This recipe makes enough for two people to enjoy a meal, or for four people to have an appetizer portion.
Spanish Shrimp with Chickpeas
- 8 Jumbo shrimp (or scampi)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced (100g)
- 2 carrots, diced (100g)
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- ½ stalk of celery, diced
- ½ cup of fresh fennel, diced (50g)
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 Tablespoons brandy
- 3 fresh tomatoes, peeled and diced (or use high quality canned diced tomatoes)
- 2 bay leaves
- Black pepper
- 3 cups of fish stock
- 1.5 cups of cooked chickpeas
- Separate the heads of the shrimp and reserve. Peel the remainder of the shrimp, devein (take out the intestine) and reserve.
- In a medium frying pan, heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and sauté the shrimp heads for a few minutes, allowing them to release their flavor.
- Remove the heads from the pan and sauté the diced onions and carrots until starting to brown (about 10 minutes).
- Add the celery and tomato paste, and sauté for a couple of minutes.
- Add the brandy and the herbs, sauté for about a minute until some of the alcohol evaporates.
- Add the fresh diced tomatoes and bring to a simmer.
- Then add the fish stock and cook over a medium simmer.
- Reduce by about one third and remove the bay leaves.
- Add high-quality chickpeas (jarred or pre-cooked) to the strained broth.
- Cook over a slow heat for about 10 minutes.
- In the meantime, coat the raw shrimp in olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper
- Sauté over medium-high heat until just cooked.
- Remove from heat.
- You can either chop up and add the sautéed shrimp directly to the pot, or you can add a few jumbo shrimp to each person's dish in a more decorative way.
- Season the stew with salt and pepper before serving. Enjoy!
Have you ever tried scampi? If you visit Spain, I highly recommend you do! They’re not cheap, but well worth the splurge. I hope you liked my Spanish shrimp with chickpeas recipe and you’ll try it out soon!
See also: Spanish seafood stew recipe