Tuesday, October 2, 2012

'Little stairs to the doors of the sea'

'Little stairs to the doors of the sea', in Lisbon

Four recipes for chorizoholics

my chorizo stash
Forget for a moment about the tasteless u-shaped industrial chorizo you'll find in your average supermaket. If you haven't tried the smaller, wrinklier and more natural version of cured chorizo with its delicious spicy smokeyness you don't know what you are missing.

Fried, boiled, grilled, with pasta, with boiled potatoes, in your pizza, in a sambo... or just as it is, chorizo is the one food I can never resist. Some people can never say no to chocolate, I go mad for a bit of nice chorizo. When our friends visit from Galicia there is usually one present they bring in their case: vacuumed packed chorizos to keep us going until the next Galician arrives in the house with more supplies.

For other chorizoholics out there, I share 4 very simple recipes here where the star ingredient is, of course, chorizo (chourizo for us Galicians):

-Chickpea stew
What you'll need:
one onion
one clove of garlic
1 or 2 carrots
4-5 ripe tomatoes (or a tin of chopped tomatoes if you prefer)
chorizo to your taste (the more the merrier!) chopped in slices or cubes
300gr dried chickpeas (if you use dried ones, you'll need to soak them for a good few hours, I suggest you soak them the night before you are cooking them) or two tins of chickpeas.

First you are going to prepare a base of tomato sauce cooking the onion, garlic and chopped carrots for a few minutes, then adding the chopped tomatoes and letting it all simmer for a few minutes until it is nice and soft. Then you can add the chorizo, the chickpeas and a pint of water (roughly). It is so simple! now you only need to let the mix bubble away until the chickpeas are cooked and add seasoning to taste. Depending on how liquid you like your stew, you can add more or less water.

If you like peppers, you can also add fresh red or green peppers to the vegetable mix. Some people might find it too overpowering but I find it works well with the chickpeas.

-Brown or Green Lentil stew
The cooking method for the lentil stew is exactly the same as the chickpea stew. The only difference is that you might like to add some cured ham cubes if you have them. I also like to boil a couple of eggs and add them to the lentil stew. Use brown/green or puy lentils for this. They have lots of iron so they are very good for you!

-Chorizo in cider (or white wine)
Cudillero, in Asturias
This is a deliciously simple recipe. You simple cut the chorizo in slices or cubes and boil it in cider or white wine until soft. You can eat it with nice fresh bread or boiled potatoes. Chorizo in cider is a very traditional recipe from Asturias, the region neighbouring Galicia, and famous for its natural cider. I was recently in Cudillero, a pretty little fishing village in Asturias, where we had some tasty chorizo cooked in local cider, as well as some fishy delicacies...

-Runner beans with chorizo
Runner beans are now in season so this is a good late Summer-early Autumn dish. They grow fantastically well in Ireland. It is the one crop that never fails to deliver in our neglected vegetable patch...

For this dish, you need potatoes, eggs, runner beans and chorizo.
It is also a very simple, quick and tasty recipe: basically you just have to boil the potatoes, eggs and runner beans until tender. With the chorizo you can either boil it too or chop it and fry it very slightly in a pan with a drop of olive oil and drizzle over the boiled potatoes, eggs and runner beans.

You can also add chorizo to your potato tortilla (Spanish omelette) or have some fried chorizo (better if it's not too cured) with fried eggs for a Friday treat! - don't forget to make some salad or veg to go with it, for a bit of a healthy balance. There is a million ways of cooking with chorizo, all of them delicious...