spicy andouille sausage + chickpeas over rice

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This morning I woke to watch Taiye Selasi talk about origin, specifically how to tackle that seemingly simple question: Where are you from? I’ve been thinking about origin a lot, how it’s not possible that we come from a concept or place, but rather we self-identify through our rituals and our beloveds. We cleave to that which feels like a home and allows us to be our truest selves. I’ve also been thinking about this because the place I used to consider my home feels foreign, and it may not necessarily be the place I would return to. If you do anything today, please watch Taiye’s brief talk as she has the ability in a brief time to truly make you think.

I had the chance to return to New York this month and I couldn’t do it. Even the thought of it give me anxiety. JFK, the cab line, the subways, the frenzy–all I would care about are the people. People whom I live and miss every day. I guess my home doesn’t resemble a home because it’s always in a state of constant repair. Over the years I’d find places I knew erased, and the flavor, the fucking verve, has been whitewashed. Right now it feels as if I’d be flying into a shopping mall–my friends’ familiar faces fighting to rise above the motley lot. Right now I don’t know if I’ll head home for the holidays because right now, Los Angeles feels right. Admittedly, I’m a tourist here. I don’t have a car and work, and the simple act of adjustment to a new surroundings and routines keeps me on the Westside with intermittent treats out east and north. I know I’ve time to navigate my new home, and I’ve no urgency to leave it because there’s so much to navigate. A new language to learn. This weekend I’m immersing myself in a stack of books–all in an effort to make sense of this place. All in an effort to shift my view from something vague and elusive to something tactile, real, visceral and specific. I watch harrowing documentaries. I talk to people more. I read the local paper. I want to get involved in my community in a way that’s meaningful and decidedly offline. I’m making plans to navigate this city with new friends and old. I ask everyone when it will get cold. Cold is relative, they respond. Come January everyone will be in boots and a winter coat and the temperature will hover around 45/50F, depending. I think about the desert. Often. I think about water. Always.

I feel here what I haven’t felt in decades. Curious. Energized. A need to take nothing I have or see for granted.

I guess you can see I’m tethered to a feeling of California. Of planting roots and settling. When people ask me where I’m from, I’ll consider the question, and the weight of it, more deeply. Because I’m connected to New York in the sense that it is part of my makeup; I’m connected to L.A. because of an awakening, and there are parts of the world where I feel my footprints because whenever I travel back there (Bali, Thailand, China, Spain) it feels familiar, like a home–our place of origin is in the periphery, it doesn’t define our identity.

I spent the morning working, working out, and at the farmer’s market. The spring onions were fat and enormous and I had to use 4 stalks instead of 8. Chorizo wasn’t available this week so I settled for a heady andouille. And the rosemary was soapy, spritely and fresh, and I spent time listening to music, cooking, all the while my Felix looked on.

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INGREDIENTS: Recipe from Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook (I changed it from a stew to a rice topper + switched around a few ingredients based on what I had on hand),
1 tbsp olive oil
8 spring onions, finely sliced (whites separated from green)
1 tbsp rosemary, finely chopped
1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
400 g/15oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 chorizo sausages in casings, cut into 1 inch rounds (I used andouille sausage, instead)
2 tbsp sherry vinegar (I used white wine vinegar)
Salt/pepper for seasoning
1 cup basmati rice
1 3/4 cup vegetable stock or water
1 tsp chopped rosemary

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DIRECTIONS
In a large frying pan, heat the oil. Add the white part of the spring onions, rosemary, paprika and the chickpeas to the pan and fry for 2 minutes on a high heat.

Add the chorizo/andouille to the pan and cook for 2 minutes. Add the vinegar. Cook gently, uncovered for a further 10 minutes stirring occasionally before.

While this is cooking, add your rice, rosemary, and water/stock to a small pan, and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn down to low, cover, and let cook for 10-15 minutes, checking over so often. When done, fluff with a fork, and all the rice to a large bowl. Top with the spiced chickpea + sausage mixture.

Add the green tops of the spring onions and serve.

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9 thoughts on “spicy andouille sausage + chickpeas over rice

  1. This sounds delicious. Think i’ll try it this week.

    When I first moved to California, I got the same question, “Where are you from”, but I think most people hear the accent and want to know, or instead ask that instead of your ethnicity… I always say I was born and raised in NY, but from San Diego 🙂 then the question of ethnicity comes up as well…

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  2. I miss California. We moved to Ohio when I was nineteen, and I never wanted to be here. I also grew up in England, and I’m supposed to be going back to see an aunt (who is dying), if we can get my passport sorted out, and afford a second ticket, but I am also dreading it. I would love to see London again, but I don’t want to visit the places we lived (we moved all over). It doesn’t really feel like home to me anymore, after twenty-five years, but I’m also afraid that I won’t want to leave, once I’m there.

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  3. This recipe sounds great and the dish looks delicious. I have always felt New York was a great state to visit but I could never live there. California was beautiful but too busy for me. We were in southern CA and I just found it to be a different pace than I was used to. I am happy you have found a place you like though. Can’t wait to try this recipe!

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  4. Just so’s you know…that 45/50 degrees is more like a typical low temp for the middle of the night…not a daytime high. Even in winter, days are usually in the 60s. And we always have those random days of 80-85 degree days in Jan. and/or Feb. I’ve lived in SoCal my whole life…we just don’t get that cold, unless you go up to the mountains. Welcome!

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  5. Thanks for writing this. I’ve been thinking about the subject of home and location a lot lately, how New York was beginning to feel almost foreign and places I grew up with were disappearing. I actually feel at home here in Belize even though I’ve only been here for 4 months, which is surprising and not, if that makes sense. And I’ve felt at home in other places too. It’s a weird and wonderful thing, and I love feeling like I don’t just have to live in one place or identify with one place for the rest of my life.
    Also, this recipe looks amazing! Gotta try.

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