Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Rioja Style Potato and Chorizo Sausage Stew

Yeah, I know.

That name just sounds so fancy. A dish from the Basque country-side of Spain, blah, blah, blah.

But this is soooooo easy to make, uses only a handful of ingredients, and is inexpensive.

Rioja-Style Potato & Chorizo Sausage Stew
Food & Wine

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium Spanish onion, finely chopped

2 Spanish chorizo sausages (about 3 ounces each), cut into 1/4 -inch dice

5 baking potatoes, peeled and cut into coarse 1-inch chunks (see Note)

1 tablespoon hot paprika
Kosher salt
(I used 1 Tablespoon)


In a large nonreactive saucepan, warm the olive oil over moderate heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the chorizo and cook, stirring, until heated through, about 1 minute. Add the potatoes, paprika and 1 tablespoon of kosher salt; stir well. Add 4 cups of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, partially cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender when pierced and the stew has thickened slightly, about 30 minutes.

Uncover the stew, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, to incorporate the oil on the surface into the stew. If desired, crush some of the potatoes against the side of the pan to thicken the stew. Season with kosher salt if necessary. Ladle the stew into shallow soup bowls and serve at once.

Note: Here's an old peasant trick for cutting the potatoes so the maximum amount of their starch is released into the stew: instead of cutting a potato all the way through with a knife, insert the knife tip at one end of the potato and then work it like a wedge to break off chestnut-size pieces.

See? Isn't that easy? To be a bit more specific about the author's note. I tried to do it on a whole potato with little success. It worked better once I halved a potato, stuck the tip down to the cutting board and then broke off a wedge.

That worked much better. It does make for a more rustic "cut" plus she says it releases more of the starch into the stew.

I was tempted to do so much with this. I thought about using broth instead of water. I thought about adding some herbs. I thought about using garnish. I was worried about the amount of oil added to saute the onion and knowing the chorizo would add even more but it turned out great. But since this was a "peasant dish", I kept coming back to WWPD. (What would peasant do?)

We served it up with a crusty bread for soppin' and it was abso-posi-lutely perfect on a cool, drizzly night.
I'd definitely make this again and won't change a thing.