I’ve always been a serious chorizo fan. The cured Spanish sausage, seasoned with paprika and garlic, can transform a pot of beans or lentils like nothing else. I have to say that I’m more excited about today’s chorizo than ever because I actually made it myself (but more of that later). Pete’s relieved that the sausages are finally in the fridge after virtually garotting himself on the makeshift curing line. Imi and I rather enjoyed having to limbo our way out of the front door.
I’ve now got enough sausage for a number of dishes, since a little chorizo does go a very long way. I prefer using the soft cooking chorizo although after 6 days of curing my sausages are on the firmer side. I’m not too distraught as I’m sure that there must be some region of Spain where my chorizo would be considered true perfection. There is no single, truly authentic chorizo: some that come in strings can be as soft as a British butcher’s sausage, others come as firm, semi-cured horseshoes whilst you can also buy fully-cured versions to eat like salami. There are probably as many types of chorizo as there are cathedrals in Spain. So, my only words of wisdom: reserve the fully-cured for charcuterie platters or sarnies, chop the firm semi- cured versions into tiny dice for cooking (or it’s like eating leather) and keep the soft cooking chorizo in juicy hunks.
So here’s a basic recipe that appeared in my first book The Food of Northern Spain (I included another version using beans instead of chickpeas in my second, The Real Taste of Spain ). It’s best made a day ahead so that the flavours develop and the chickpeas (or whatever pulse you’re using) drink up the juices. You can obviously play around, it’s a what-you’ve-got-in-store type of a dish.
One-pot Chorizo Supper
2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
250 g/ 9 oz chorizo, hot or sweet, sliced
500 g/ just over 1lb of freshly cooked or 2 x 400 g/14 oz cans of chickpeas
1 x 400 g/ 14 oz can of chopped plum tomatoes
2 tbsp sultanas
juice of ½ lemon
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp toasted pine kernels
1 tbsp fresh parsley, roughly chopped
drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
Fry the onions in a large pan until they soften and then add the garlic and the chorizo. Once the pan is swirling with the smoky, red chorizo fat then tip in the chickpeas, stirring to cover them in the delicious oil.
Add the tomatoes and the sultanas and cook until everything is heated through.
Taste, I usually find that the chickpeas need a little lemon juice to liven them up and a bit of salt and pepper. Now sprinkle with pine kernels, parsley and a dash of extra virgin olive oil.
Using beans such as butter beans, cannellini, borlotti or black beans instead of the chickpeas.
Adding diced vegetables such as carrot, celery or red pepper to fry up with the onion.
Try stirring in some fresh spinach, right at the end, just until it wilts.
& for an instant Tapas nibble
Just try placing some chunks of sliced chorizo in a clay cazuela or oven-proof dish. Cover with red wine or dry cider and place in a hot oven for about 15 – 20 minutes until the fat just begins to glisten on the surface. Serve with great bread for dunking.
And now to the source of my fabulous chorizo: The Meat Course at Trealy Farm
Last weekend I went on a course run by Ruth Tudor and James Swift at their Monmouthshire farm. I felt, like most of us, that I’d lost connection with where our meat comes from (horsemeat?!) and although I’m already very choosy when I’m shopping I just wanted to understand a bit more about the reality of rearing animals for meat, the slaughter, butchery and then some charcuterie too.
I hope that the pictures can begin to convey the bucolic setting (oh what a classroom, looking out over the Welsh countryside). My only regret is that I didn’t take any pictures of the amazing food that Nicky cooked all weekend, I was just too busy eating!
The animals were beautiful: I’m in love with Gwenlas the cow, failed to take any pictures of the pigs as I was having such a great time scratching their backs and discovered that sheep, depending on their breed, can be very different, and sometimes very endearing characters. Ruth chatted to us about the running of the farm, the constant decisions, obstacles, compromises and whilst I’m not about to run a small holding, I do feel that I’ve got more of a grasp of the differences between and the consequences of organic, natural and more industrialised farming.
I was definitely feeling pretty emotional and reluctant about the slaughtering of the sheep, but it was actually fascinating, and seeing the humane way in which an animal can be killed has made me even more determined to eat meat from animals that have been properly cared for.
Trealy Farm Charcuterie has been lauded by countless chefs and food writers as the best in the land so Sunday with James was an absolute treat. We kicked off with an English breakfast, some very, very good black pudding playing the starring role. We learned to butcher a sheep and a pig, talked about cuts and cooking methods and then finally, after a superlative charcuterie fest’ of a lunch, made our own bacon and chorizo. What a weekend; I might even pop back over the Severn Bridge and buy half a pig I feel so inspired.
Jenny, your one-pot chorizo supper (from your first book) has now become a staple dish in our household – and when we’re camping!
Thanks Linda, I’m so glad, it’s such a crowd pleaser. Have you ever tried it using black pudding? Just leave out the tomatoes and maybe add a dash of sherry vinegar at the end.
I haven’t tried that (not very imaginative me!) but I will. Sounds a delicious idea! Thanks!
Pingback: Spicy Chorizo and Bean Soup | Recipes for a Healthy You
Admiring the time and energy yyou put into your blog andd detailed
information you offer. It’s nicde to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same
old rehashed information. Excellent read! I’ve bookmarked your site
and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.