Portuguese Chourico Stew
January 5, 2011
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This year I promised to emphasize basic techniques rather than specific recipes. Stew, which is really nothing but a very thick soup, is one of the basics that turn up in every cuisine in one form or another. But all stews have a few things in common: a protein, a starch, vegetables, and sauce. Fish and shellfish, potatoes, leeks and tomatoes, and fish stock make bouillabaisse. Lamb, potatoes, peas and carrots, and roux-based gravy make Irish stew. And chourico, potatoes, green beans, and tomato sauce make a Portuguese Chourico Stew. I like to make my stews heavy on the vegetables and light on the protein because that is simply healthier and more economical. The general method for stew is to brown the meat in a pot, remove the meat and sauté any root vegetables, return the meat to the pot along with the rest of the vegetables and the sauce, cover and simmer until done. Fish stews omit the browning of the protein but otherwise follow the same game plan. That’s it. Simple.
This recipe I adapted from one at the Gasper Sausage Company’s web site. If you live in or near to New England you are probably fortunate enough to find their products in your local supermarket. Otherwise you can order them online.
Oh, and yes, I did post a similar recipe in September. This serves two generously.
- 1 chourico link, about ½ pound, cut into ¼” rounds
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced (diced, incidentally, technically means cut into 1 cm. cubes)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 boiling potatoes, about 1 pound, diced
- 6 ounces fresh or frozen green beans
- 2 cups tomato sauce, canned or homemade
- Water to cover
- ½ tsp. pimentón (smoked paprika), optional
- Salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a suitable pot (I use a 3-quart Dutch oven) and render the chourico until nicely browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and adjust the oil in the pan as needed. Sauté the onion until softened, about 3 minutes, then add the garlic and continue cooking for another minute. If there is residue stuck to the bottom of the pan, pour in a small amount of water and deglaze it with a wooden spoon.
Put the rest of the ingredients into the pot and stir to combine. Add water, about 2 cups, to just cover the vegetables. Stir in the pimentón if using. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are done. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.