Friday, 22 April 2011



Chorizo is an Iberian pork sausage and flavoured with garlic and smoked paprika (pimenton), which gives it its distinctive flavour and deep orangey-red colour. There are several different kinds, ranging from a salami-type which is served sliced, as a tapa or in boccadillos (sandwiches) to a cooking chorizo, which is a fresh sausage and must be cooked before eating.

Once upon a time in the UK, you could only buy the sliced, salami type, but as our fondness for continental food has grown exponentially in the last 20-odd years, there are now many more varieties of chorizo available. For example, Waitrose stocks a premium-grade Chorizo Iberico, which is made from pork from the highly-prized Iberian pig, which feeds off acorns. It is very rich and flavoursome, and makes an excellent tapa with a glass of chilled fino or Cava.  Tesco now stocks cooking chorizo, which I use for paella, and similar dishes where a more traditional sausage is required. My son likes Spaghetti Carbonara made with fried, sliced chorizo instead of bacon. We also use it on pizzas and in salads, and I love it fried with scallops, as a take on 'surf n turf'. As a tapa, you often find tiny chorizo sausages cooked in wine or sherry. At the main market in Barcelona, there was stall after stall of charcuterie, with all kinds of chorizo on display, tied in jaunty bundles and hung from the roof of the stalls.

I really love chorizo, and can quite happily munch through a packet of sliced chorizo if it is in the fridge. My son, who as a very small child loved salami and olives, hummous and tzatziki, is also addicted to it. I always have a packet in the fridge, and often buy a whole chorizo sausage at Lidl, as a standby for whenever I feel like making a paella (which is quite often!).

A handful of recipes containing chorizo:

Chicken Basque
Chorizo Braised in Red Wine
Scallops fried with Chorizo
Chorizo and Chickpea Soup

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