Yorkshire Chorizo: That’ll Do, Pig

I think anyone in the UK should be justly proud of our produce. We’ve been the butt of rubbish jokes about British food (and teeth) for way too long thanks to people who can’t read or order properly from menus. You know, the kind of people who go to London on holiday and eat at Wetherspoons and then try to claim our cuisine is poor and uninspired.

We’ve also had this weird stigma about promoting food that isn’t necessarily native to this country as our own. Never mind that chicken tikka masala was invented here, and that curry should actually count towards our national repertoire… Never mind that we produce some of the finest cheeses and cured meats in the world…

Well, I say it’s time to celebrate all of the fantastic produce we have here, and all of the farmers, butchers, bakers and artisans who slave away to make it. And I’d like to start with this fabulous chorizo from Yorkshire, which was kindly sent to me by Chris Wildman – the chap who makes it!

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Made to an authentic recipe in Skipton, North Yorkshire, this cured pork sausage is made with the finest smoked Spanish paprika and can be eaten straight from the packet, or barbecued, fried or boiled. (I cannot wait to get some of this on the BBQ when the season starts!) I thought long and hard about the best recipe to showcase the gorgeous flavours of this chorizo (and it certainly is one of the best chorizos I’ve ever had!), before deciding that simple was best.

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What better combo for chorizo than some garlic and tomato? Showcasing the slick, oily paprika that oozes from the meat, this pasta sauce delivers crispy nuggets of deeply savoury pork, along with the sweet-sourness of the tomato and the heady tang of garlic. The best part is, you can make the sauce in as long a time as it takes to cook the pasta. And the second best part is that it’s so simple I don’t even need to give you a recipe…

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To prepare, chop your ingredients, then put your pasta on to the boil. While it’s cooking, fry the garlic and then the chorizo in the pan with some olive oil until slightly brown. The chorizo will release some of the gorgeous paprika into the oil, and this is what makes this sauce so delicious! Then, add some chopped tomatoes and fry. The quantities are up to you – I used three large salad tomatoes and 130g of Yorkshire Chorizo for two people, but you can make a sausage stretch to four very easily by upping the amount of tomatoes in there.

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When you’re done, you’ll end up with this delicious concoction – which I guess looks more like a salsa than a sauce! Top your pasta (I cooked 100g of dried spaghetti per person) with the chorizo and tomato mix, and dig in…

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Or, you could try using this as a topping for bruschetta or toasted sourdough bread. Or on top of a jacket potato! Or as a sauce for some grilled chicken or salmon… It’s such a versatile recipe, and thanks to the quality of the ingredients, it’s delicious and so simple to make.

Purchase Yorkshire Chorizo at www.yorkshirechorizo.com. Because of the natural preservatives in the chorizo, it can be kept at room temperature and therefore sent via the post! Each sausage costs £7.50, including postage and packaging, and there are three flavours – garlic, original, picante, plus you can also buy Yorkshire Salami too! How will you cook your Yorkshire Chorizo?

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End of summer: Crispy Panzanella

Grape tomatoes.

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Well, it’s officially nearing the end of the summer, and that means that it’s our last chance to make use of some seasonal produce before… well, let’s not kid ourselves – pretty much everything from the summer is still available all winter round, albeit at a price. But my late summer favourites are strawberries, tomatoes and corn on the cob, and it’s now that these babies come into their own. All of these are on sale at supermarkets, but if you get yourself to a farmers’ market, you can get them even cheaper. Punnets of strawberries for a couple of quid, tubs of cherry tomatoes for 70p, I even bought five ears of corn for a pound a couple of weeks ago.

Here’s a great recipe I found in a foodie magazine ages back, for a crispy crouton and spicy tomato salad. Although it’s called Panzanella in my recipe folder, panzanella is usually made with bread that’s a bit soggier than the stuff you’ll find here. This recipe gives you fresh tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers, drizzled with a spicy, garlicy dressing, and pepped up with crunchy, crispy croutons. It’s one of my favourites, and you can make it all year round thanks to the supermarkets. But why not make it now, when everything’s at its cheapest and best?

Recipe for Crispy Panzanella

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • One red chilli
  • Sea salt
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 200ml olive oil
  • Small red onion
  • 450g tomatoes
  • Black olives
  • Half a cucumber
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 very small loaf, torn into small chunks
  • Handful of basil leaves

METHOD

  • Turn the oven onto medium heat and drizzle some of the olive oil over your bread chunks. Sprinkle with a little sea salt and bake in the oven until crunchy and golden brown.
  • Cut your salad ingredients (pepper, cucumber, tomato, onion).
  • Crush the garlic and chilli together in a pestle and mortar with some sea salt until you get a pungent paste.
  • Mix the vinegar, sugar and olive oil together, and whisk in your chili, garlic and sea salt.
  • Mix together the dressing with the vegetables, and allow them to sit for around an hour.
  • Wait until just before serving to pour the veggies and sauce over your croutons, to keep them crispy and fresh. Tear over the basil leaves and serve.