Monday, May 12, 2008

The Palacios Chorizo Challenges - First Challenge

So, to the Palacios Chorizo Challenges.

You may not be as familiar with Palacios Chorizo as you are with Louis Vuitton. The simple explanation is that Palacios is a large industrial producer of various embutidos (sausages) and prepared foods. One of the largest in Spain, if not the largest. Chorizo, in turn, is a spicy Spanish sausage flavoured with paprika, from which it gets its distinctive reddish hue.

As it happens, I currently have more than one girl's fair share of Palacios chorizo sausage in my fridge. A year's supply? Maybe slightly more. Who's to say? It occupies an entire shelf and comprises well over a dozen sausage links. Whether that makes a year's supply all depends on how much you like sausage, I suppose.

In any event, there's a perfectly simple explanation. And, no, it does not involve a bottle of tequila and a 24 hour grocery store...although, in other circumstances, it might have.

About a month ago, I went on a road trip with Mike Tkachuk, the CEO of the Canadian Serrano Imports, his good natured sales manager Art and Derek Bendig, the chef de cuisine of Toronto's Pangaea restaurant. The product of this trip was the Hog Heaven article that I've reproduced under the More Ham title below. As you can imagine, we spent much time touring the farm and production facility of the family owned Embutidos Fermin, the exporter of jamon iberico to Canada. We also stopped at the much larger Palacios, the exporter of chorizo to Canada.

At the end of our Palacios tour, we were kindly offered a box of Palacios samples. Due to some language barriers and our failure to understand what the size of a box of Palacio samples might actually be, upon leaving the factory, we were presented with four enormous boxes (one for each of us), each about the size of two cases of wine, neatly stacked at the back of our van. Reluctant to offend and even more reluctant to have our diminutive hostess carry three of the giant boxes back with her, we smiled politely and thanked Palacios for the kind gift. The boxes barely fit into the back of the van.

The kicker is that all this food was of course destined for my place because all three of my companions were flying out in a day or two and there was no question of them being able to take anything back. And so I found myself with a fridge full of sausage.

The logical resolution of this state of events was to set myself a challenge: I challenged myself to eat all of that chorizo this year--if I do, I may well buy myself a Louis Vuitton bag.

Just to make things a bit more interesting for you, I'm going to create new Palacios chorizo recipes as I go. The first one is a simple but delicious paella:

1 medium tomato, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, slivered
2 small Palacios chorizo sausage links, sliced (about 1 cup)
3-4 tbsp olive oil
2 cups rice
4 cups chicken stock
pinch of saffron
1 cup chickpeas
1 bunch asparagus, chopped into 1 inch pieces
salt and pepper to taste

Sautee the garlic and onion in the oil until soft. Add the chorizo and brown on all sides. Mix in the rice, coat thoroughly with the oil. Add the chicken stock all at once and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, add the saffron and distribute the rice evenly in the plan. After 10 minutes, mix in the chickpeas and adjust the seasoning. Spread the asparagus spears on top. When all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente, turn off the heat and let rest for 5 minutes or so. Enjoy with a fine glass of rioja and Louis Vuitton catalogue by your side.

1 comment:

Tara M. said...

yum. me want some chorizo now....
any plans for sweet chorizo treats? I'm thinking like a mince-meat chorizo pie?