One word: chorizo. Cho-ri-zo. That smoky, red sausage to end all sausages (mild innuendo warning). I consider myself a connoisseur of foreign imported meat (and I do not take that title lightly), and of all those I have eaten in my short yet wonderful life, chorizo is king. My longest love affair to date, and undoubtedly my most successful, is with this delicious, satisfying meaty sword. For those who are ignorant of Spain’s greatest export after Enrique Iglesias, chorizo is a type of pork sausage that can be either spicy or sweet, spiced with paprika and salt from the Iberian Peninsula. Though it can be fresh, it is most typically fermented and smoked and eaten without cooking. My, oh my, is it lovely.
When I was younger, I am ashamed to say, I didn’t appreciate this noble meat as I should. Nine year old me just wanted to fit in. It was bad enough that I had teeth like a hillbilly and the moustache of a Chilean miner, did I really need to have lunches made with meat no one had heard of, let alone pronounce (There is no ‘t’ in it, okay?! DO NOT ADD A T)? I have always prized myself on my spectacular appetite, and even as a child my lunches were the stuff of legend.
Though I loved my mum’s spectacular creations (and admire them all the more now), Baby Me honestly didn’t want the attention you got from bringing a whole salmon fillet on a bed of noodles to wet play. My little, girlish heart longed for that childhood staple: bear ham. I longed for a friendly filling with little to no actual meat content, longed to eat the face of a loveable bear as it laughed at me from inside an inoffensive white bap. That wouldn’t have been sinister at all. But every day I would look into my Powerpuff Girls lunchbox to find carrot slices in cling film (first strike against me. All the cool kids had tin foil), a nutty granary roll (the second) and to my embarrassment, chorizo slices (three and out). It wasn’t that I didn’t like it; God, did I love it, but it was more the crippling unfounded embarrassment of a shy child, of having to tell their teacher how to pronounce their sandwich filling (There is no ‘t’ in chorizo, Mrs Lightfoot! I have told you before, you imbecile!).
Now, I love it the way I should have done all those years ago. A chorizo ring is my fridge staple. Grill it and eat it in a sandwich, fry it with garlic, peppers and cherry tomatoes for a rich pasta sauce; this is the most versatile and downright fabulous of meats. Fact. This meal is a mystery concoction, a little bit of everything, fried together and left to bubble until it is thick and delicious. I’m not going to lie; its not that much to look at but its outer ugliness is only a reflection of its inner tastiness. Play with the ingredients depending on what you have. You could always reduce the stock, eating it instead as a side to crispy salt and pepper chicken wings or with chickpeas, sherry and tin of tomatoes for something more like a Mediterranean stew. Now, I have preached the gospel of the humble chorizo, go forth and stuff yourself. You’re welcome.
Chorizo and Potato Hash
Half an onion, chopped
2 Garlic cloves
Red chilli, chopped (optional)
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery sticks, chopped
1 big potato, chopped
Big chunk of chorizo, deskinned and chopped thickly
1 tablespoon paprika
Vegetable stock cube
5 mushrooms, chopped
Small handful of green beans, chopped in half
Add olive oil to frying pan, once hot stir in half the chopped onion and two smashed garlic cloves. Leave until soft and fragrant.
Add roughly chopped carrot and celery and some slices of red chilli. Fry for ten minutes and then add the chopped potato, chorizo and season with salt and pepper and a tablespoon of paprika. Cook until the chorizo has let out some of its lovely, red oil.
Cover with water, crumble in the stock cube and stir. Use some tin foil to make a lid for the pan (or use a real lid if you have one) with a corner exposed for the steam to escape. Leave to bubble away for 15 minutes.
Throw in a handful of chopped mushrooms and green beans and cook for another 10 or so minutes until the liquid has reduced and what is left is thick and sticky, with the potato and beans fully cooked. Eat in a big bowl with crusty bread and a spoon.