Smoky, spicy Spanish chorizo is a rustic charmer whether cooked or not... so we have easy, authentic tapas recipes for both ways
Chorizo sausage is an undoubtedly rustic charmer from the Spanish kitchen. Its rough, chewy texture and hefty, spicy-smoky flavour provide not only a fantastic platform to combine with other strong Spanish flavors but also a perfect complement for big bold Spanish red wines.
Traditional Spanish chorizo comes from roughly chopped or ground fatty pork, seasoned with pimentón, meaning smoked paprika (that is, smoked ground sweet red bell peppers), a powder blend which itself may omit or include spicy red peppers to craft various levels of dulce (sweet) or picante (spicy hot) chorizo sausage, respectively.
Chorizo pork sausage is cured (i.e., salted), then smoked and thus cooked, which means it can be sliced and eaten without further cooking. Due to its high fat content however, it also cooks and crisps up nicely during pan frying, for instance.
For your tasting enjoyment, we offer here our favorite version of each: uncooked, assemble-only chorizo tapa and an easy, addictive pan-fried chorizo tapa:
Pimiento, Manchego & Chorizo Skewers
The roasted, sheep-y and spicy flavours of Spain are skewered together for a surprisingly complex sequence of little bites. Only minutes to prepare yet rather authentic, complementing a wide range of robust Spanish red wines.
YIELD: 20 skewers, serving 10 as an appetizer
ACTIVE TIME: 15 mins
TOTAL TIME: 15 mins
- 1 jar ROASTED PEPPERS in oil, red and/or yellow, 290 g
- 1 wedge MANCHEGO CHEESE, ~175-200 g
- 1 package thinly pre-sliced spicy CHORIZO, ~80 g
- 20 BAGUETTE SLICES (optional)
- 1. Drain the peppers by dumping into a coarse sieve set over a bowl. If you don't have a sieve, fish them out with a fork onto kitchen paper towel.
- 2. Cut the Manchego evenly into about 20 cubes.
- 3. Fold a chorizo slice in half, then in half again. Thread onto a wooden skewer or toothpick, followed by a cheese cube, then a pepper piece (folded over or cut in half if large).
- 4. Serve skewers on a platter or, in true Basque pintxo style, set each skewer onto a piece of sliced baguette on a platter.
Chorizo & Red Wine Tapa
A super simple, make-ahead tapa in which a savoury red wine reduction and hint of honeyed sweetness complement the paprika spiciness of chorizo sausage chunks. Equal parts rustic, authentic and addictive with almost any Spanish red wine.
YIELD: About 40 chunks, serving 10-12 as an appetizer
ACTIVE TIME: 35 mins
TOTAL TIME: 35 mins
- 1 tablespoon OLIVE OIL
- 2 large SHALLOTS, finely chopped
- 2 fat GARLIC CLOVES, finely chopped
- 400 g spicy CHORIZO rings (2 x 200 g rings)
- 150 ml RED WINE (we use 'Las Flores' Rioja Tempranillo, from Coop)
- 1 tablespoon liquid HONEY
- Handful CILANTRO or PARSLEY, coarsely chopped
Crusty sliced BAGUETTE, to serve alongside (optional)
- Wedge of MANCHEGO CHEESE, sliced or cubed (optional)
- 1. Prep ingredients. Finely chop shallots and garlic. Cut off chorizo string and cut each ring into two pieces. From a cut end, use your fingernail to peel/cut back the skin from chorizo and discard. Cut each chorizo piece into about 10 triangular wedges (discs are boring), ~40 pieces total from 2 rings.
- 2. Sauté base. Heat a large frying pan over less than medium heat for a few minutes; a drop of water should sizzle on the surface. Add oil, then shallot and gently sauté for about 5 minutes until shallot is softened but not browning (lower heat if it browns). Add garlic and cook 2 mins more; again try not to brown very much.
- 3. Fry chorizo. Push the shallot and garlic to the sides of the pan and add the chorizo pieces, one flat side down, working in batches if pan isn't large enough. Over several minutes the chorizo releases its red oil, then the surface crusts and browns, then develops black spots. If pieces start to smoke or you can't keep up with the blackening, reduce the heat slightly (there's no hurry). Stand diligently with tongs over the pan, checking the pieces often. When a dark crust and/or a few black spots appear, turn to fry the other flat side; when both sides are crusted, remove pieces to a kitchen paper towel and blot off the excess oil.
- 4. Finish the sauce. Add the wine to the still-hot pan, stir in honey, stir in shallot and garlic from pan sides. Simmer liquid gently for a few minutes, reducing way down to about a tablespoon (tilt the pan to judge the liquid amount better). When just this much sauce remains, add the chorizo pieces to the pan, stir to coat them completely, and keep heating the mixture gently and stirring until no liquid remains on the pan bottom; it should instead all glaze the chorizo.
- (Chorizo may be prepared to this point several hours ahead and stored in a covered container in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before serving.)
- 5. Serve with toothpicks in a bowl or on a platter, topped with cilantro or parsley and alongside some crusty bread to mop up the spicy juices. Slices or chunks of manchego cheese make a soothing accompaniment.