From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Pork is a mainstay of the Spanish diet. Roast suckling pig is a holiday favorite, and Iberico pork, which rivals Kobe beef in terms of cost and exclusivity, is favored by those who can afford to put it on the table. Those of more modest means can find pork legs hanging from racks in tapas bars and supermarkets and pork sausage, both sweet and hot, is also readily available. Spanish Chorizo, a cured, table ready pork sausage that's been seasoned with salt and smoked paprika (pimenton), is used extensively in Spanish cooking. It is unlike its Mexican counterpart and it is important to note that the two products cannot be used interchangeably. Chorizo is made in short or long and hard or soft varieties. Leaner varieties of the sausage can be eaten at room temperature and make a suitable tapas offering, while fattier versions are best used for cooking. Generally speaking, long thin chorizos are sweet and the short versions are spicy. Now here comes the rub. It is hard to find Spanish chorizo in American supermarkets. Keeping in mind that Mexican chorizo cannot be used in Spanish recipes, the dilemma becomes what to use as a substitute. Fortunately, Portuguese linguica and Italian pepperoni are both adequate, if not perfect, substitutes. Chorizo puffs are a tapas favorite and they can be made with choux paste or self-rising flour. I'm featuring the latter version tonight, because I think they are more flavorful. The puffs are easy to make and delicious when served warm. They should be one-bite morsels, so watch the amount of of batter you use to form the mounds. A level tablespoon is perfect. I do hope you'll give this recipe a try. The combination of chorizo and manchego cheese is dynamite and I know you will enjoy the puffs. Here is how they are made.
Chorizo Puffs...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite
1/4 cup olive oil, divided use
6-oz. Spanish chorizo sausage, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1 cup self-rising flour
1/3 cup cornmel
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
3 eggs, separated
3/4 cup warm beer
1 cup grated manchego cheese
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1) Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a medium pan. When oil shimmers, add sausage and peppers and cook, stirring, until sausage is browned. Drain on paper towels.
2) Combine flour and cornmeal in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons oil, garlic, egg yolks and beer. Cover and let stand for 30 minutes.
3) Stir sausage mixture, cheese and parsley into batter.
4) Beat egg whites in a separate small bowl until soft peaks form. Fold into batter in two batches.
5) Deep-fry level tablespoons of batter in hot oil, working in batches, until just browned and cooked through. Drain on paper towels and serve warm. Yield: 3 dozen.
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