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Sweet and smoky with a kick of Spanish heat, chorizo delivers a big burst of big flavour to the simplest of dishes – and the recipe possibilities are endless.
Is there a secret weapon ingredient you believe makes everything tastes better? A drizzle of miso perhaps, or lashings of tahini? What about roasted garlic, a handful of fresh herbs, or even a dash of sriracha?
If you love chorizo, then chances are you’re part of that club. An emblem of Spanish food culture and beloved the world over, the dry-cured pork sausage is a byword for big flavour. Its sweet and smoky flavour can elevate otherwise plain dishes into something sensational – and when you don’t have tons of time but want to cook smart, it’s one ingredient you definitely want to hand.
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Although it’s completely delicious on its own, chorizo is also wonderfully versatile. It works well in a huge variety of dishes, from baked breakfast eggs and seafood stews to spicy soups and creamy risottos. Fry a few chunks for a few minutes and you’ll immediately get a sense of its potency: scarlet oil running through the pan, the air filled with the warm aroma of red pepper, chilli and paprika. It’s enough to make your mouth water – and happily, we have five delicious recipes for you to turn up the heat at home.
Hosting a summer barbecue? Genevieve Taylor’s prawn and chorizo skewers include cubes of ciabatta to soak up every last drop of the meat’s spicy oil.
For a regional twist on a traditional Spanish stew, Angela Clutton’s chorizo variation with clams comes infused with Andalucían flavour – while Katrina Meynink’s boozy souvlaki potatoes with chorizo and feta is a rustic Greek dish that will instantly make grey days feel better.
Next up, Alan Rosenthal’s Spanish rice with baked chorizo, chicken and prawns is a gutsy one-pot wonder that will please everyone pining for a dish of smoky paella by the Mediterranean sea.
And lastly, Theo Michael’s chorizo and butter beans in honeyed cider sauce is a beautifully simple collection of ingredients that require nothing more than some rough chopping. Bookmark for busy days when you need dinners that can be left to do their own thing – just don’t forget the crusty bread.
Prawn, chorizo and ciabatta skewers
Genevieve Taylor says: “The spicy oil from the chorizo soaks into the bread so it grills up to be deliciously crisp and tasty. Keep the bread cubes fairly generous so they will be less likely to fall off the skewers.”
- 6 thick slices ciabatta
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 200g raw peeled prawns
- 125g dried chorizo, cut into 5mm discs
- sea salt and freshly ground
- black pepper
- a handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 1 lemon, quartered
You will also need:
- 6 metal skewers
When you are ready to cook, fire up your barbecue ready for direct cooking.
Cut the bread into cubes a similar size to the diameter of the chorizo and put in a bowl. Drizzle in the olive oil.
Add the prawns and the chorizo and a good grind of salt and pepper then toss to mix.
Thread onto skewers, alternating between bread, prawns and chorizo.
Lay the skewers directly over the fire and cook them for 3–5 minutes, turning regularly, until the prawns are pink and cooked through and the bread is crisp.
If the bread is catching too quickly, move the skewers slightly further away from the fire to cook more gently.
To serve, scatter over the parsley and squeeze over the lemon. Eat while hot.
From Foolproof BBQ: 60 Simple Recipes To Make The Most Of Your Barbecue by Genevieve Taylor (£12.99, Quadrille), out now
Angela Clutton says: “Many is the springtime feria in Andalucía at which my husband and I have tucked into this as a breather in the midst of that festival of food, fino and fun.
“It is essentially a rich tomato sauce cooked with chunks of chorizo, with clams (almejas) added at the end. There’s sherry in there too, of course, as well as sherry vinegar for the depth, balance and deeply Andalucían flavour it gives.”
- 5 tbsp olive oil
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed or chopped
- 250g cooking chorizo, cut into 1.5cm chunks
- 2 bay leaves
- 400g can of chopped tomatoes
- 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
- 50ml fino or manzanilla sherry
- 500g clams
- 2 tbsp chopped tarragon sweet ‘condiment’ sherry vinegar (optional), to drizzle
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a large shallow pan that has a lid. Cook the onions in the oil over a medium heat until softened.
Add the garlic and chorizo and stir; as it heats you will start to see the chorizo release deeply coloured and flavoured juices. Allow to cook for 5 minutes. Then add the bay leaves, tomatoes, vinegar and sherry.
Stir well, season, bring to the boil, then turn the heat down so it is gently simmering. Partially cover with the lid and allow to simmer on a low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
You could prepare the dish to this point ahead of time and keep it in the fridge for a day, making it a very quick cook-and-serve in its final stages.
Prepare the clams by washing them thoroughly in cold water and discarding any that are broken or open. Drain the clams only when you’re ready to cook them.
Bring the tomato and chorizo sauce to the boil, tip in the drained clams, put the lid on the pan and leave it alone for 6 minutes. Then check to see if the clams are starting to open, put the lid back on and give it all another 2 minutes, or as needed until the clams have opened up.
To serve, sprinkle over the tarragon and a drizzle of sweet sherry vinegar, if using.
Discard any unopened clams, and then enjoy how these rustic yet elegant flavours come together.
Condado de Huelva or Montilla-Moriles wine vinegars would be good for the all-important Andalucían feel.
From The Vinegar Cupboard: Recipes And History Of An Everyday Ingredient by Angela Clutton (£26, Bloomsbury), out now
Boozy souvlaki potatoes with chorizo and feta
Katrina Meynink says: “This recipe is basically all my favourite things combined in a bowl – it’s the ultimate fodder for when the soul needs feeding.
“Serve it with icy cold rosé or beer and it won’t take long to set your personal compass back on its axis.”
- 2 fresh chorizo sausages, casings removed, meat roughly chopped
- 1 kg white potatoes (I use sebago), washed and chopped into bite-sized chunks
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 250ml white wine
- 250ml chicken stock
- handful fresh oregano leaves
- 175g green olives, pitted
- fresh oregano leaves, roughly chopped
- 120g Persian feta
- fresh basil leaves, roughly torn
Set the slow cooker to the sauté function. Once hot, add the chorizo meat and cook until starting to brown and the oil is separating.
Add the potato and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring gently to coat the potato in the oil.
Add all the remaining ingredients, except the olives, then close the lid.
Cook on high for 2 hours, then open the lid and stir through the olives to warm through.
To serve, scoop the potato mixture (and its residual liquid; there will be some) into bowls. Top with oregano, feta and basil.
Season generously and serve.
From Slow Victories: A Food Lover’s Guide To Slow Cooker Glory by Katrina Meynink (£16.99, Hardie Grant), out now
Baked chorizo, chicken and prawn Spanish rice
Alan Rosenthal says: “Spanish rice dishes are traditionally cooked in a shallow wide pan, a paellera, over a wood burning fire.
“In the absence of an available fire pit or appropriately shaped barbecue, I tend to make these dishes partly on the hob and in the oven, making things much simpler and virtually risk free.”
- shallow pot
- hob and oven
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 skin-on bone-in chicken thighs (about 500g), trimmed of excess skin
- 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 red pepper, quartered lengthways and cut into 5mm slices
- a pinch of crushed chilli flakes
- 2 bay leaves
- 125g cooking chorizo sliced into 5mm thick coins
- 2 garlic cloves, finely grated
- 1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
- a generous pinch of saffron
- 200g canned chopped tomatoes
- 250g paella rice
- 700ml hot chicken stock
- juice of lemon
- 75g frozen peas
- 8 raw, unshelled prawns
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- lemon wedges and chopped parsley, to serve
Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6.
Heat the oil in your wide shallow pot. Season the chicken thighs.
Then, over a medium heat, brown the thighs, skinside down, for 7 minutes until golden and crisp. Don’t be tempted to touch them before the 7 minutes is up; they won’t have had a chance to caramelise and brown, magically detaching themselves from the base of the pot.
Once the skin side is done, flip them over and cook for a further 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Now add the onion, red pepper, chilli and bay leaves to the pot and cook gently for 5 minutes, allowing the vegetables to soften.
Add the chorizo slices and garlic and continue to cook gently for another 5 minutes until the oils have been released from the chorizo.
Stir in the paprika and saffron and cook for a couple more minutes.
Add the chopped tomatoes and allow to cook gently for a further 2 minutes.
Add the rice, mixing well.
Now add the stock, lemon juice, 1 tsp salt and a few grinds of pepper.
Push the chicken thighs, skin-side up, into the rice, allowing the skin to remain above the surface of the liquid but the majority of the thigh sitting below.
Pop the pot in the preheated oven and cook for 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, put the peas into a sieve and pour over boiling water. Allow to drain.
Remove the pot from the oven and push the prawns slightly into the rice and scatter the peas around.
Pop the pot back in the oven for 5–7 minutes or until the prawns are completely pink and cooked; this may take a little longer depending on the size of the prawns.
Once ready, take the pot out of the oven. Cover with a damp tea towel for 5 minutes to allow any remaining liquid to be absorbed by the rice.
Add the lemon wedges and sprinkle with chopped parsley to serve.
From Foolproof One-Pot: 60 Simple And Satisfying Recipes by Alan Rosenthal (£12.99, Quadrille), out now
Chorizo and butter beans in honeyed cider sauce
Theo Michaels says: “These little bites of chorizo are incredibly addictive. Sautéed until they release their smoky oil, glazed with a sticky cider reduction and paired with creamy butter/lima beans, this dish is perfect served with nothing but chunks of rustic bread to soak up the juices and a good rioja to wash it all down.
“You need soft cooking chorizo here, as opposed to the firmer, drier cured sausage that is usually sliced thinly and eaten raw as tapas.”
- olive oil, for frying/sautéing
- 400g soft cooking chorizo, sliced into chunks
- 1 small white onion, finely sliced
- 1 whole dried chilli pepper (optional)
- 2 garlic cloves, thickly sliced
- 400ml dry cider
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 200g can butter beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 tsp runny honey, or more to taste
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to season
- freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley, to garnish
- chunks of rustic bread, to serve
Heat a little olive oil in a deep-sided, non-stick frying pan and add the chorizo. Fry/sauté for about 5 minutes, until the skin is slightly crisp.
Carefully pour away any excess oil from the pan and add the onions and chilli (if using).
Fry/sauté the onions until they wilt and soften, then stir in the garlic.
Pour in the cider, add the bay leaf, season with salt and pepper and scrape the bottom of the pan to incorporate any caramelised bits of onion into the sauce.
Simmer until the liquid has reduced by a third, then add the butter beans and honey and continue cooking until you have a rich, thick sauce.
Remove from the heat, taste and add more honey or salt and pepper to taste.
Transfer the chorizo and butter beans to a serving dish, spoon over the sauce and finish with a sprinkle of flat-leaf parsley and chunks of bread for dunking.
From Rustica: Delicious Recipes For Village-Style Mediterranean Food by Theo Michaels (£16.99, Ryland Peters & Small), out now
Photography: © Jason Ingram; © Rita Platts; Polly Webster; © Katrina Meynink; © Mowie Kay, © Ryland Peters & Small
Christobel Hastings is a London-based journalist covering pop culture, feminism, LGBTQ and lore.