It has been said that what comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible, after silence, is music. Bollocks to that, it is this dish! Trying to think about its complexity hurts your brain more than trying to pay attention during a particularly wearisome reading of the Book of Psalms.
We travel far beyond mere food with this recipe, it is a life-altering event, a transcendental taste of sublime perfection. And cooking it is way even exciting than the juicy bits of the Old Testament with people slaying other people in order to rape their wives, or an entire town is razed to the ground because they ate the wrong kind of cabbage. Rapture!
I originally stole this recipe from Simon Hopkinson (you can see a comment by him on my original recipe here), but The Editor and I improved it no end last night.
Now it is ours! We have Jesus to thank for a large part of the improvement. You are probably thinking “Jesus? Surely Davy has lost it?” Well, I did lose it, as soon as we unsheathed Jesus’s sausage and smelled the gloriously rich, fatty and meaty aroma that it emitted.
Thou shalt cook baked chorizo with kidney beans, onion, garlic and mint
You will need:
One large sweet white onion, finely chopped
A standard onion will just not do! You need one of the sweet white ones that are increasingly widely available, and that are even sweeter and whiter and richer than the Winchester College Quiristers at Evensong.
Three large shallots, finely chopped
Banana shallots would be ideal if your religious accoutrements supplier only has miserably small normal shallots.
Eight huge cloves of garlic finely chopped
You are under dictat to use more cloves of garlic if yours are small.
Two tins of kidney beans, 800 g in total, drained and rinsed
At our house we open cans,
we have to open many cans,
and that is why we have a Zans.
A Zans for cans is very good.
Have you a Zans for cans?
One 400 gram Iberico Extra cooking Chorizo
We got ours from a stall in the Winchester Cathedral Christmas tat market. It was made by a second rank Iberico de Bellota producer called Jesus. He is so second rank we can’t remember his last name, but even a second rank Bellota producer will transport you to new dimensions of heavenly pleasure and ecstasy with their pork-handling ability.
- 300 ml of booze-tastic white wine
Something you wouldn’t want to drink a whole bottle of, i.e. communion wine level. We used Hirtzberger Axpoint Grüner Veltliner 2006 where, as with all Austrian Grüner, you could feel its painful yearning to be Riesling. It was a touch over the hill, recognisably a fine wine, but one that utterly failed to provide any satisfaction. Thanks for that bottle, Gernot, it served us well.
50 ml of quality Mirin
Don’t get any of that de-alcoholised filth unless you want food fit only for the worms of hell.
Two heaped teaspoons of hot dried chilli flakes
If yours have been open and hanging around for a while, and you fear they have lost some of their fire and brimstone, use some more.
One high-grade chicken stock cube
Not the accursed Oxo, for Christ’s sake!
A large handful of freshly chopped mint
Sweet smoked paprika
Plenty of olive oil
I recommend an appropriate one here
Salt and black pepper
Do you really need to be told?
For the chef:
Fresh lemonade with two Berocca tablets and a shot of decent Tequila
- Twenty-four hours before you begin unsheathe the sausage and put it somewhere where the cat will not violate its sanctity.
- After this period in the food wilderness slice up the sausage into slices no thicker than a piece of silver (or a pound coin).
- Pour the wine and Mirin into a jug and grind up the stock cube in it, give it a good mix to dissolve the stock cube as much as you can, but don’t worry if it fails to totally integrate as it will when you cook it.
- Pour a large slug of olive oil into a large frying pan and put it over a medium heat. Add the onions and garlic. Chef, start drinking your drink. Slowly stir the onions and garlic until they are just browned. They should look like this:
- Add the chorizo and stir. Chef, if you should have some drink left, you need to drink it now as the next step gets a bit intense. Keep stirring over a medium heat until the wholesome fat from Jesus’ sausage has convincingly dribbled out into the pan. It’ll look like this:
The fat of Jesus’s sausage begins to run
Chef Davy shows off the sausage mix
- Pour in the wine, Mirin and stock and add the beans. Add the chilli flakes.
- Raise the heat a little until the whole thing is at a vigorous simmer and keep stirring until the volume of liquid has reduced by half.
Nearly reduced enough
- Heat your oven to 120 degrees. Put the whole lot into a preheated oven-proof dish and anoint it with a decent slug of olive oil, before putting it in the oven. Let it slowly simmer until nearly all the fluid has been absorbed by the beans. This should take three-quarters of an hour to an hour, but you WILL wait until it is ready.
- Whip it out of the oven and inhale the joyful scent. After you have recovered, and wiped the drool off the floor, stir in two thirds of the fresh mint.
- Divide the sea of fatty, sausage-y, bean-y casserole into four portions, sprinkle the remaining mint on top and add a little smoked paprika.
A portion of the divine
A taste of heaven
If you sourced your ingredients with attention and cooked with love, you will eat with exaltation and should prepare to be transfigured. There are no words to describe the blissful experience of eating this dish, but it is an experience of transubstantiation that will stay etched in your mind for all eternity.
Any fat left in the dish should be poured into a bowl to be warmed up the next day and served for breakfast with sourdough baguette. Have some Pale Ale with it.
Oh! The Editor has just trawled the internet and found out our chorizo maker was Jesus Marcos de Salamanca. So not Christ, then. Bugger!