The weather forecast for this week is not good, not good at all. We look to have some real stormy, autumnal weather heading for the islands. So perhaps it is time to start thinking of some hearty, warming recipes, comfort food like a nice chunky soup. Now personally I am not a big fan of soup. If I get out to eat, I go for the fish or seafood starter. I save soup for when my mum makes her thick tomato and bacon version for a big Sunday lunch. But increasing when I am working and not at home with my family, soup is a one-pot wonder. Soup can be tasty, nutritious, extremely good value for money. It is easy to make and you can use lots of store cupboard staple ingredients and most of the odd bits in the fridge.
Now I had some potatoes, onions, and Chorizo in my fridge. So in my mind, I was thinking something simple with perhaps a Spanish taste, the potatoes soaking up the flavour of the Chorizo. I looked up a recipe and came across Patatas Riojanas, a very simple rustic soup or stew from La Rioja. La Rioja is a small region in the north of Spain. It is most famous for its high-quality wines, and it has some lovely indigenous dishes as well. No one is sure about the origins of Patatas Riojanas, but it would not have existed until at least the 19th century and the introduction of potatoes into Spain during the Napoleonic Wars.
Patatas Riojanas – the National dish of Spain?
There is a story that Chef Paul Bocuse tasted this casserole in a well-known winery. After three more plates he told everybody Riojan style potatoes were the best food he had ever eaten. The world-famous chef also recommended this meal to be the national dish of Spain. I added a few carrots and some celery to my recipe to make even more of a stew than a soup. The final result was absolutely delicious and very satisfying. I hope you enjoy it to.
What to Drink? This soup pairs with Rioja of course, Pinotage, and oaked Shiraz wines stand up well to the flavour of the Chorizo. But be careful over-oaked wines can actually make the chilli heat seem worse. Alternatively, try a malty, biscuity, Pale Ale if you prefer a beer such as Samuel Smith’s Organic Pale Ale
Patatas Riojanas Soup
- 1 Large heavy bottomed Pan
- 750 gr Waxy Potatoes
- 2 large White Onions peeled and finely sliced
- 2 large Carrots peeled and cut in chunks
- 3 large sticks Celery thoroughly washed and sliced
- 2 Red Peppers grilled, skin and seeds removed
- 250 gr fresh Chorizo Sausage cut into one-centimetre dice
- 50 ml good quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 600 ml good quality Chicken Stock
- 1 large glass good Spanish White Wine preferably white Rioja at least 250 ml
- 3 large cloves of Garlic peeled and crushed
- 1 heaped tablespoon Plain Flour
- 1 heaped tablespoon Sweet Spanish Paprika
- ½ teaspoon fresh Thyme Leaves
- 1 Bay Leaf
- Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
- Freshly chopped Parsley to garnish
- Pour the olive oil into a large, heavy bottom pan and gently sauté the Chorizo, sliced onion, carrots, and celery for about fifteen to twenty minutes until the onions are soft and translucent.
- Add the garlic slices and potato and cook for five more minutes stirring constantly.
- Add the flour and cook out for two more minutes keeping stirring.
- Pour in the stock and white wine into the onion and chorizo mixture and add all the remaining ingredients and stir.
- Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer on low until potatoes are cooked. Be sure to check the level of the cooking liquid adding a little water if needed.
- When the potatoes are well cooked and start just to break up correct the seasoning, add the parsley, stir and serve.