Chorizo, mushrooms, cooked rice, seasoned with tarragon and garlic and blasted under the grill for crunchy topping. It’s a bomb of flavours and it’s easy and quick to make, even if you cook rice from scratch.
There are dishes that can get you excited as soon as you see the ingredients list. Of course the list might be very short and say just ‘fillet steak’ or ‘lobster, butter, mayo’ or even ‘chocolate, cream, more chocolate’ but that’s not what I’m thinking about.
I’m thinking about foods that rarely seem exciting on their own but take on lots of appeal when used in a recipe.
Chorizo, the Spanish sausage, is one of those – can you honestly think of anyone who would name it as their favourite thing to eat? No, but something-something-with-chorizo is usually hugely popular except among vegetarians.
Even people who don’t like sausages much will make an exception for chorizo. Whether it's mild or hot, smoked or raw, sliced thinly and cooked crisp or diced into a salad instead of lardons of bacon, chorizo has a wide fan base and no surprise – it is one good sausage with plenty flavour.
Then there are mushrooms, the meaty vegetable. I always bemoan the scarcity of wild ceps or porcini in England but even the humble cup mushrooms always add value to the dish: substance to veggie food, texture to casseroles, flavour to gratins.
Mushrooms as veggie burgers, mushroom ragu for pasta – they would be the staple of my diet if I were vegetarian.
And then there’s Parmesan cheese, umami central. The irresistible pong, the melty-not-melty texture, and the rind that must be the most addictive snack you can chew on for hours (or is it just me?).
As they say, adding some cheese makes everything taste better – adding Parmesan makes it divine.
So the parts are great but the whole is even better than the sum: the flavour powerhouse mixed into the canvas of cooked rice and grill-blasted under – wait for this – cheesy breadcrumb topping. With tarragon, the finest of herbs. And a few peas for a spot of colour. Simply gorgeous.
How to prepare crispy chorizo rice
Those fortunate people who always have leftover cooked rice on standby are able to produce this lovely dinner in just about twenty minutes. I never have any rice left - perhaps I like it too much. But even if you have to cook it specially for this - and my recipe for cooking rice below is totally idiot-proof - it will still be reasonably quick and easy.
If you have an ovenproof skillet, set it on the hob with chorizo in it to crispen and cook. Step by step add the mushrooms, the onions, herbs and peas or whatever variations you wish to introduce. Once everything is cooked, simply stir in cold rice and add the Parmesan-breadcrumb topping.
And It will take only as long under hot grill as crunchy, crispy and golden you want the topping to turn.