One of the most versatile ingredients to keep in the fridge, Spanish chorizo is one of my rescue remedies.
A Spanish and Portuguese (chourico) sausage, it is made from chopped or minced pork, flavoured with sweet and often quite hot paprika, garlic and salt.
The soft type is usually raw, with the harder sausages cured and dried and ready to eat.
Raw chorizo is very good to chop and dry fry to add to vegetables, meats and fish to liven them up.
An otherwise vegetarian meal will taste meaty without huge amounts of meat — the flavour goes a long way. Combine with chickpeas or any type of bean for an easy supper.
Slice and alternate raw chorizo on skewers with chunks of monkfish for a barbecue treat. The fat of the chorizo will coat the fish perfectly and keep it moist.
I often start with dry frying chorizo for five minutes, then add leftovers, grated carrot and sit sprigs of broccoli on top. Add a tablespoon of water and place a lid on to steam for an easy supper with pasta or noodles.
Dry fry chorizo in the pan and add eggs to make a delicious frittata or omelette. Small uncooked chorizos are delicious barbecued, served in a bun with crisp lettuce and tomato.
Health wise, chorizo is fatty so must be seen as a treat. Olé!
La Denominación Iberico fresh chorizo 400g €6.50 (€16/kg)
Two vacuum-packed fresh sausages are excellent cooked in chunks or slices. Made from pigs fed on acorns, the flavour is slightly sweet, while garlic and paprika provide the rich kick. Delicious!
Available in speciality shops including Cinnamon Cottage in Rochestown, Co Cork, Diva in Ballinspittle, McCambridges in Galway, The Real Olive stalls and The Good Food Store in Dublin.
The Real Olive acorn fed dried chorizo 500g €12.50 (€25/kg)
One of the two best chorizos we tasted for slicing and serving as part of a starter plate, the spicing with pepper, garlic and salt is gentle and it has a rich, meaty flavour.
Iberico Bellota pork is top quality and you can taste the sweetness of the acorns. It is slightly oily from the acorns which have healthy oleic acids, helping to cut through the fat. From Real Olive stalls nationwide and English market, Cork.
Marks & Spencer 4 Spanish chorizo sausages for cooking 200g €4.40 (€22/kg)
Quite mild spicing with paprika and dried garlic here. There is plenty of good, dense meat and no gristle. These must be cooked.
Good for the barbecue on skewers perhaps with peppers and whole tomatoes. Contain some preservatives. Made in Spain, a nice alternative to regular sausages.
Aldi Spanish chorizo ring 200g €1.99 (€10/kg)
Quite a kick here of cayenne and traditional smoked paprika and there are some gristly bits but most melt away when cooked. Try putting in a hot dry pan for five minutes to allow the fat to leach out.
Add chopped fresh tomato, cooked peas and potatoes before adding eggs to make an easy, satisfying omelette. Good to perk up dull stews. Contains preservatives.
On the Pig’s Back 2 pack 250g €4.95 (€19.80/kg)
A strong chilli kick is the main flavour, with medium soft texture. Needs to be cooked so slice and fry in a dry pan and add to cooked chickpeas with chopped parsley and fresh tomatoes for an easy salad.
A few forms of sugar and some preservatives here. Available in On the Pig’s Back and other speciality food shops
On the Wild Side Kerry chorizo 250g €8 (€32/kg)
Deliciously hot and peppery, with a deep meaty flavour, this is ready cooked and ideal as part of a charcuterie plate. Dark in colour, it looks better sliced.
A good all rounder from Olivier Beaujouan based in Castlegregory, Kerry. On sale in Limerick market, On the Pigs Back, Cork and others.
SuperValu Riojan style chorizo 200g €2.49 (€12.50/kg)
Mild spicing here has genuine Spanish flavour from paprika, salt and garlic.To its credit, it has no additives. Good sliced as it is for sharing plate or tapas, or cook it and add to many dishes.
Gubbeen chorizo 144g €3-€3.50 (€20/25/kg)
Strongly smokey and spicy, lots of paprika and chilli flavours here with plenty of meaty pork from Fingal Ferguson’s pigs in Schull.
Preservatives and sugars added. Ready to eat, it slices well. Good with vegetables for a quick stir fry or as a pizza topping. Available nationwide in speciality shops and markets.
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