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Spice up Your Life – 3 Great Ways to Enjoy Spanish Chorizo

WARNING! – Non meat eaters may find the following article distasteful.

The most annoying aspect of Spanish chorizo is its outrageous pronunciation by so called celebrity TV chefs: personalities who really should know better. It’s quite simple: chore – ee – though, chorizo – please spread the word.

As for this spicy Iberian sausage, there’s a world of difference between the best and worst. A mistake at this point could result in a lifelong dislike. My suggestion would be to visit Galicia, and in particular Monforte de Lemos: I know just the place to buy the most delicious chorizo you will ever taste.

Hidden down a back street on the outskirts of Monforte is a speciality pork butcher’s called Carniceria Real. The chorizo here is made from the finest pork fillet, spiced with peppers and pimiento, and oak smoked in the traditional manner. Customers have a choice of two varieties; picante, which as the name suggests is devilishly spicy and dulce, which is not sweet but lacks the chilli flavoured kick of the former.

There must be a thousand and one recipes that include chorizo, but here are three of my favourites.

1. Chorizo The quickest and easiest way to enjoy chorizo is by ordering a tapas or better still, making your own. Preparation is simple, even for me.

Ingredients:
1 chorizo sausage
1 crusty loaf

Preparation:
Take one chorizo sausage and slice at right angles, creating rounds roughly 5mm thick.
Place on top of a slice of crusty bread, preferable baked in a wood oven, and eat.

2. Chorizo al Infierno – Affectionately called, ‘The Flaming Pig’.
This recipe calls for a specialist piece of equipment called a cazuela choricera. Throughout Spain the size and shape of a cazuela choricera differs depending on the region. Here in Galicia, this earthenware pot is often crafted in the shape of a pig.

Ingredients:
1 chorizo sausage
1 crusty loaf
A good measure of aguardiente (local firewater)

Preperation:
Take one chorizo sausage and slice at right angles, creating rounds roughly 1cm thick.
Pin the rounds onto a metal skewer
Pour the measure of aguardiente into the cazuela choricera and ignite.
Flambé the chorizo over the, ‘Flaming Pig’
When cooked, place on top of a slice of crusty bread and eat.

3. Galician Bean Feast – A spicy and aromatic dish created through a harmonious collaboration of husband and wife and based on an unsuccessful recipe found by me in a woman’s magazine. The original recipe called for tins of baked beans topped with raw eggs. The eggs cooked so slowly they took on the texture of rubber mouse mats. Undeterred by bouncing eggs, we revised the ingredients culminating in this mouth-watering dish.

Ingredients:
6 chorizo sausages (4 dulce and 2 picante)
2 onions
1 340g tin of chopped tomatoes
450ml tomato frito (passata)
100gms dried red kidney beans
100gms dried white kidney beans
150gms jar of roasted red peppers
Seasoning to taste
*Definitely no eggs*

Preparation:
Soak beans overnight in water
Rinse beans and boil in salted water for half an hour or until soft, drain and set aside.
Chop onions
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan. Add onions and soften.
De-skin chorizo and slice into 5mm rounds and add to onions.
Cook gentle until onions are coloured and flavoured by the chorizo.
Add tomatoes, tomato frito, beans, and chopped roasted peppers.
Season to taste and simmer gently for 40 minutes.

Serve with potato wedges and garlic bread for a mouth watering feast.

The culinary possibilities of the humble chorizo are limited only by one’s imagination, so go on; spice up your life.

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