Saturday, May 12, 2007

Spanish Tortilla al Chorizo

I’ve had several folks ask for “hands-on” classes at the shop, giving each participant a chance to master a skill that might not be easily demonstrated to a group.

The first class I did was a sausage-making class. We made three sausages, stuffed casings, cooked them and had an accompaniment to each. It was a lot of work, but the results were well worth it.

One of the sausages we made was a Spanish style chorizo. For this one, since a coarse grind was important, we ground the meat ourselves with our handy Kitchen-Aid attachment. The seasonings are very different from the Mexican style hot and spicy chorizo. One important ingredient is Pimentón de la Vera, a sort of paprika from central Spain. The peppers used in making it are not dried in the traditional way, in the sun, but smoked slowly for several weeks over an oak fire. It is a wonderful seasoning. Just a touch gives great flavors to leafy greens, beans, rice dishes, fish and pork.

At any rate, the sausage we made using the Pimentón was a huge hit, and we had some left over. I stuck it in the freezer, thinking I would stuff it into casings another time. But I bet you know me well enough by now to know that just didn’t happen!

I had neighbors coming for a Sunday evening supper. There wasn’t enough of the chorizo to serve as sausage but just enough to make a sort of Spanish tortilla. (“Tortilla” is the Spanish word for omelet, as opposed to the Mexican flour tortilla.) Served with a green salad, it was declared quite tasty by all. This would be a perfect brunch dish, too. It can be baked, not done on top of the stove and can be served either hot from the oven, or at room temperature; or you can make it ahead and reheat it.

So, first I am going to give you the recipe for the sausage. You might not want to grind your own pork, but if you do, use something with plenty of fat, like shoulder or Boston butt. Otherwise, call ahead and ask your butcher to grind it for you in “chili grind,” that is, coarsely, and only once through the grinder. And I bet you’re not going to stuff it in casings, either, but you can use it as sausage patties or meatballs. Then use the rest for the Tortilla al Chorizo.


2 lb coarsely ground pork, with some fat
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 or 3 cloves garlic, very finely minced
¾ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
2 tbsp sweet Pimentón de la Vera (available in specialty markets)
1 good pinch hot pepper flakes (optional, if you’d like a little heat)

Combine all ingredients. Place in a non-reactive bowl, and refrigerate overnight, covered tightly.
NOTE: Casings are available in small packages from Charlie’s Meat Market. They will also do the pork in the appropriate grind with advance notice.


½ lb chorizo (or Italian sausage)
2 tbsp olive oil, as needed
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced, with some of the green
¼ cup finely minced white onion
6 oz spinach, coarsely chopped
7 eggs
1 cup finely shredded mozzarella
1 tsp Italian spices or basil, dried, crumbled
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350o. In a skillet, cook and crumble the sausage just until no longer pink. Transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon. If there isn’t enough fat left to sauté the onions, add enough olive oil to just film the bottom of the pan. Add the onions and cook, stirring, for a few minutes, or until wilted. Add the spinach and stir and toss until the spinach is wilted.

Meanwhile, spray a 10” pie or quiche pan with cooking spray. The sausage will have given off a bit more liquid. Transfer the sausage to the quiche pan with a slotted spoon. Add the liquid remaining in the sausage bowl to the onion-spinach mixture and cook for another minute. Then spread the onion-spinach mixture evenly over the sausage.

In a bowl, whisk the eggs with a splash of cold water. Add the cheese and seasonings and whisk until well blended. Pour evenly over the contents of the quiche pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the center is set. Cut into six wedges and serve immediately, or reserve and serve at warm room temperature.
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