09 January 2010

CROCKPOT CHALLENGE: Portuguese Chorizo and Peppers


2 pounds chorizo sausage, casings removed and crumbled
2 green bell peppers, seeded and chopped
2 sweet onion, peeled and chopped
1 6 ounce can tomato paste
1 cup red wine
1 cup water
2 tablespoons crushed garlic

In a slow cooker,
combine the sausage, green pepper, onion, tomato paste, wine, water and crushed garlic. Stir so that everything is evenly distributed. Cover and set on low. Cook for 8 hours. Uncover the pot and cook an additional 2 hours to allow some of the liquid to evaporate. Serve over rice or with Portuguese bread. Makes 8 servings.

Notes: Above you will find the classic recipe for Portuguese Chorizo and Peppers as I was able to find it. In my attempt at this dish, I added 1/2 jalepeno, minced, 3 carrots, peeled and sliced lengthwise into 1/2 inch long segments, 2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme, and one can of cannelini beans, drained and rinsed.

Though the end result was indeed delicious, some observations:
- Make sure to use a red wine that isn't too sweet or of poor quality. If you wouldn't drink it, I wouldn't use it for your cooking, because your stew will be flavored with it and the vegetables will really soak up the flavor - the carrots especially do this and I will not be adding them to my next incarnation of this dish.

- The chorizo is surprising to work with, be prepared. I have used this sausage many times, sliced, but hadn't ever cooked a recipe that required me to crumble it. Chorizo is not formed in the same way as most sausages, where you snip the end off and squeeze out the insides. The chorizo needed to be peeled first and then crumbled. I left a few large chunks, as is my preference so that there could be variation in the texture of the stew. Please see pictures below for a demonstration of the chorizo peeling process. I saved the skins in my freezer to use in making a stock later on. Save everything for this purpose! Garlic and onion skins, vegetable ends, carrot peels, you name it!

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