Potato and Chorizo Gratin

It’s taken a long time for chorizo to become available over here, more’s the pity. Spain hasn’t quite the variety of sausages of Italy or Germany but the quality is in no way inferior, and in chorizo Spain has a world-beater anyway. It’s less fatty than salami and more highly spiced, especially with pimentón (sweet paprika) and chilli in the picante versions. As such, a little goes a fairly long way.

This gratin is a highly savoury mix of potato, chorizo and garlic, with a little finely diced porcini to round it off. This would be good with a plain piece of beef or venison but it’s better I think on its own as a main course, with a plain salad or green vegetable. You can, of course, vary the amount of meat in the gratin.

If you can find it, use the hard Spanish ewe’s milk cheese Manchego. Otherwise use Gruyère or a medium Cheddar.

Ingredients

  • 1 large clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 750 g firm-bodied potatoes like Reds or King Edwards, peeled and cut into slices 3mm thick
  • salt and pepper
  • 6–8 pieces dried porcini mushrooms, very finely chopped (no soaking required)
  • about 100 g thick chorizo, cut into about 30 slices 0.5mm thick (ask at the meat counter to have it sliced; if you have to use thinner chorizo, make the slices a bit thicker – and, of course, use more of them)
  • 250 ml double cream
  • 110 g hard cheese
  • butter for greasing

Method

Preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C/Gas3. Butter a gratin dish of about 30cm ∞ 23cm.

Sprinkle half the garlic into the gratin dish. Place a slightly overlapping layer of potatoes in the dish and season lightly with salt and black pepper. Sprinkle over one third of the porcini. Cover with an overlapping layer of chorizo. Add another layer of potatoes, sprinkle on the rest of the garlic, more porcini, season, cover with chorizo. Add another layer of potatoes and porcini, season, cover with the rest of the chorizo and finish off with more potato. Season again. Pour on the cream around the edges of the dish and cover the top with the cheese. Bake for 1½ a hours or until the potatoes are soft.

Variation

Omit the porcini and replace with 2 tsp very finely chopped rosemary, thyme or marjoram leaves.