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.
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.
Omit the porcini and replace with 2 tsp very finely chopped rosemary, thyme or marjoram leaves.
© 2001 Stephen Bull. All rights reserved.