Viva Chouriço !

 

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We’re talking Portuguese chouriço, here, that wonderful cured and smoked sausage that is ubiquitous throughout that beautiful country.

There are many ways to feast on this delicious treat, but our favourite way is to grill it with an assador de barro, that charming little ceramic pig you might see in so many gift shops throughout Portugal. Assador in Portuguese means ‘spit’, as in rotisserie, and barro means clay, so this is a spit made of clay. Chouriço is served at most Fado houses in Lisbon earning it the soubriquet, Fado sausage. Fado is the gorgeous traditional Portuguese folk music synonymous with singers like Amalia Rodrigues.

 

Scenes from a Fado House

Scenes from a Fado House

 

Chouriço – sometimes spelt like the Spanish chorizo– is made of pork, wine, garlic, and dried smoked red peppers, giving it a deep reddish tint. As it is already cured and smoked, all you really have to do when you get it home is heat it up. A traditional dish that you might associate with chorizo is paella, the Spanish favourite that uses Spanish chorizo, although Portuguese chouriço is more famously used in Brazil’s Feijoada. You can use it in so many other ways too, like ragu, jambalaya, stews and soups, chili…the list goes on and on.

 

Feijoada

Feijoada

 

But grilling it on the assador de barro s the most fun, and most unadulterated way to enjoy this taste of Portugal. Grilling it is super easy. First take your sausage and make little slices all along it, about ¼ inch deep. Place the chouriço on top of the assador, then drizzle a few ounces of “fuel” over it. Traditionally aguardiente has been used for this, but any spirit with an alcohol content of 40% or more works beautifully. We use plain cooking brandy because we like the taste, but feel free to pick your favourite.

 

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Light the Chouriço with a match or lighter. Let the sausage cook for a few minutes or until it becomes charred on one side, then, using a fork or tongs, turn the chouriço over and cook it on the other side until you get the blackened surface you desire. The brandy will most likely have burned off by this point. Remove the chouriço and slice. Serve with crusty Portuguese bread, maybe some fat olives and a saffron aoli, close your eyes and crank up the Fado.

 

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