Making Patatas a la Riojana at Home

Excerpt from Ari’s Top 5 enews

Terrific potato and chorizo stew in the style of northern Spain

This classic dish is one of my favorite ways to use it. It’s easy to make, hearty, and delicious.

Potatoes were not present in the Iberian Peninsula until well after Columbus came back from the Americas—this preparation likely dates to the 19th century. Typically, Patatas a la Riojana was a working person’s dish, eaten after a long day in the fields. To make it, cut medium-thick slices of your chorizo into chunks. Heat a bit of extra virgin olive oil in a saucepan. When the oil is warm, add the chorizo. Stir and cook for a few minutes so that the cured pork releases its flavor into the oil, then take it out with a slotted spoon. Add a small bit of chopped fresh garlic and onion, and a good amount of Yukon gold or other flavorful potato, cut into 1/4- to 1/2-inch chunks. Stir well and cook for a few minutes. Sprinkle in some Spanish pimenton, the smoked paprika that’s so famous from Western Spain. I prefer the spicy one, but we also have the sweet. Be careful to stir regularly so you don’t burn the paprika. Add a little sea salt, and some hot chicken stock (I use the one we make at our house from the Roadhouse smoked chicken; we also have great old-school chicken stock for sale at the Deli every day!). Simmer the potato pieces in the broth, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are very tender. Add salt and pepper and more paprika to taste.

Serve it on warm plates. Garnish with a generous ribbon of really good olive oil, maybe the marvelous Marques de Valdueza! The dish goes great with bread—Paesano or True North would be my top picks. Leftovers last and heat up well too.