Tablet Life & Arts

Everyday Food: Have you tried dried chorizo?

What it is

Dried chorizo is an intensely seasoned, hard Spanish pork sausage (not to be confused with Mexican fresh chorizo). It’s flavored with pimentón (smoked paprika), garlic and salt and comes in sweet and spicy varieties.

How to use it

Enjoy thin slices right out of the package, with crusty bread and mustard, or lightly fry it for tapas. Use it to enhance soups, stews or rice dishes such as paella.

Buying and storing

Dried chorizo can be found with other specialty cured meats in larger supermarkets or you can order it online. Whole chorizo can be kept in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, while sliced can be kept, well wrapped, for up to a week.

Chorizo and potatoes with roasted peppers and egg

Serves 4

• 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

• 6 ounces dried chorizo, diced medium

• 1 pound new potatoes, boiled then thickly sliced

• 1 jar (12 ounces) roasted red peppers, drained and cut into 1-inch-wide strips

• Coarse salt and ground pepper

• 1 tablespoon butter

• 4 large eggs

1. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium. Add chorizo and cook until browned, about 3 minutes. Add potatoes and cook until heated through. Add peppers and cook until heated through. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a bowl. Wipe skillet clean.

2. In same skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Working in two batches, add eggs and cook until whites are set and edges are golden and crispy, about 2 minutes. Serve chorizo and potato mixture topped with eggs.

Seafood and chicken paella

Serves 4

Traditional Spanish paella uses saffron, which adds a vibrant gold color and distinctive flavor. If you are unable to find it, this version is equally delicious without it.

• 4 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

• 1/2 teaspoon crushed saffron (optional)

• 1 teaspoon smoked paprika or sweet paprika (see note below)

• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

• 4 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (about 1 pound total)

• Coarse salt and ground pepper

• 6 ounces dried chorizo, sliced 1/4 inch thick

• 1/2 medium onion, diced small

• 3 garlic cloves, minced

• 2 large tomatoes, chopped

• 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice

• 12 mussels, scrubbed

• 1/2 pound medium shell-on shrimp, deveined

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with rack in lowest position. In a saucepan, combine broth, saffron (if using) and paprika; bring to a simmer and keep warm.

2. In a large skillet (at least 12 inches wide), heat oil over medium. Season chicken with salt and pepper. When oil is very hot, cook chicken, skin side down, until skin is golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Flip, spoon off all but 1 teaspoon fat from skillet, and push chicken to side.

3. Add chorizo to skillet and cook until browned, about 3 minutes. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring frequently, until thickened, about 10 minutes.

4. Add rice; stir to coat thoroughly with tomato-chorizo mixture. Stir in hot broth and 1/2 teaspoon salt (skillet will be very full). Arrange chicken evenly on top, making sure rice is submerged. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring rice occasionally, 8 minutes. Nestle mussels in cooking liquid and cook 2 minutes more. Arrange shrimp on top.

5. Place skillet in oven and cook until all liquid is absorbed, 10 to 12 minutes. Let paella stand 10 minutes before serving.

Note: Pimentón, which is rich and smoky but not very spicy, is a classic ingredient in Spanish paella. Smoked or sweet paprika is a good substitute.

Pan-fried chorizo with sherry vinegar

Serves 6

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 8 ounces dried chorizo, sliced 1/4 inch thick, and cook until browned, about 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat and add 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar; swirl to combine. Serve chorizo with country-style bread and manchego cheese.

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