Saturday, August 4, 2007

Chorizo with Sherry and Tomatoes

When you routinely leave work at gone 8pm and you have almost an hour's journey home, having a decent repertoire of quick to shop for and cook meals is essential, unless you want to end up eating pasta and pesto or bad pizza every night. This is just such a recipe, and is equally good in the winter or the summer. It is essentially a stew, but far brighter and lighter than anything else I know going under that name (hence it's absence in my title). Chorizo, onion and cherry tomatoes are sauted in oil spiked with paprika, and then soused in sherry. The result is both sweet and deep, each ingredient still tasting of itself whilst the sherry broth caresses them into melding with the others.

Last night I ate this atop a mound of bulgar wheat with a layer of steamed greens in between. In an ideal world the starch would have been provided by couscous, but my search of the cupboards yielded none, and I realised that the last bag I bought was, in fact, hanging out with the spaghetti and rice at my boyfriend's flat. Such are the perils of having more than one kitchen... When the days and skies are darker, this golden-red concoction happily marries with a mound of mashed potato and a healthy helping of curly kale. Whatever the season, the idea is the same: some relatively bland cushion of carbohydrate piled with some leafy, ferrous greenery (kale, spinach, cabbage...) through which the juices can filter.

Two points I learnt last night: firstly, don't be tempted to thicken the sauce - the result will look disturbingly like the vile bright orange stuff tinned spaghetti hoops float in, and it soaks into the rest of the dish more satisfyingly when it is thin anyway - and secondly, Barossa Shiraz which tastes strongly of peaches after it has been out of the bottle a while is a terrible partner to this. (Frankly, I can't think of anything it would partner well. Not even peaches.)

For one, you will need:
  • 100g chorizo
  • 1 small or half a medium onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 100g cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 150ml cream sherry (by which I mean somewhere between a small and a large glass - I don't actually measure it out
  • 1 bay leaf (not essential)
  • salt and pepper
  • parsley to serve, if wished

  • Heat the oil in a medium-sized saucepan. Finely chop the onion and add to the pan, frying it very gently so it softens but doesn't burn or caramelise - this dish is sweet enough already. Chop or crush the garlic and stir into the onions. If you have skinny chorizo chop into coins about 5mm thick, if a chunk of the larger diameter variety, cut into cubes of about 1.5cm. Add to the pan with the paprika and stir to thoroughly coat everything. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the chorizo is oozing its red oil and getting a tiny bit crisp on the edges of some pieces. Meanwhile, cut each tomato in half and throw in to the mix. Once the tomatoes are heated through (a couple of minutes), add the sherry and bay leaf and simmer for another 5 minutes. Taste, adjust the seasoning (you may find no salt is necessary, depending on your sausage and sherry) and dilute with a little water if the broth is a bit on the heavy side for your taste. Serve, sprinkled with chopped fresh parsley if you happen to have any.

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