Quick: Where can you find the strongest cider tradition in the world? Southwest England? Normandy? Actually, it’s Asturias, the coastal province of northern Spain famed for its apple groves. Instead of sherry, sidra is the traditional drink in the tapas bars; walk into any bar in the region, and you’ll be able to order this dish with your glass of cider. This is a bit of a jazzed-up version; more likely in Asturias, you’d get unadorned chorizo cooked in cider. I’ve made this recipe with dried chorizo, which is rock-hard when you buy it, and with fresh chorizo. Fresh is better, but you can use either one. You might even consider using a touch of dry in addition to the fresh, for intensity of flavor. Either way, serve it with a glass of cold, sparkling, funky cider; the dry, tart drink and the rich, spicy sausage play off each other brilliantly.
Apple Thoughts: A crisp, sweet apple like Gala works well here, but a sweet-tart russet like Zabergau Reinette or Roxbury Russet would be even better. Any high-acid apple will do.
1 lb chorizo, sliced in 1/2-inch slices
1 T olive oil
1/2 onion, thinly sliced and halved
1 cup dry hard cider
1 apple, cored and sliced in half moons
Parsley for garnish (optional)
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Add the chorizo slices and sauté until brown, about 2 minutes. The oil will turn a lovely orange color from the paprika in the chorizo.
Turn the chorizo and sauté the opposite side another 2 minutes.
Add the cider and the onion and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 6 minutes.
Add the apple slices, stir, and cook another 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated and the sauce is thick. Serve in a bowl, garnished with parsley if desired, and accompanied by crusty bread.
Recipe from Rowan Jacobsen, “Apples of Uncommon Character” (Bloomsbury)