Top 10 Foods: Past & Present – #6: Chorizo Sausage (Dwell Edition)

If you’ve dined at a trendy tapas bar, chances are you’ve sampled chorizo sausage. Hailing from the Iberian Peninsula, this pork sausage is known for its deep red color and smoky flavor, and can be served in cured slices or fresh in a paella or pasta dish. Both the dried and fresh varieties are distinctive and delicious, and have become popular with the North American gourmands public in recent years.

The tradition of sausage making in the Iberian Peninsula dates back to the Roman times. The loin, belly, and other cuts of the animal would be stuffed into casings and preserved with salt and spices, providing protein for families during harsh winter months. Pork sausages were common, but it was only with the discovery of the New World in the 16th century that the chorizo variety was born. Spanish explorers brought back pimentón (a smoked Spanish paprika) from the Americas and soon discovered that this spice added flavor to sausages while acting as a preserving agent. Pimentón, garlic, and white wine became the main ingredients of this new type of pork sausage, and chorizo rapidly spread in popularity.

Spanish chorizo and Portuguese chouriço were among the first varieties of chorizo sausage, and are very similar in taste, although the Portuguese variety is traditionally flame-cooked over alcohol in an earthenware pot or dish.  Immigrants from Spain and Portugal brought their recipes for chorizo along with them, resulting in the birth of Caribbean, Latin American, Mexican, and even Indian variations on the traditional sausage.

Want to sub chorizo sausage in your next dish? Be inspired with a recipe from interior designer/blogger Brandon Smith, as entered in the Designer Cookoff at Dwell on Design 2012 this past June. Co-sponsored by Capital Cooking & American Standard, Capital’s booth was turned into a live kitchen for spectators & media alike. This cookoff saw six designers and food/design bloggers go head to head in a battle of taste and presentation using Capital Cooking’s Culinarian range. Heading one of the teams, San Diego Designer Brandon Smith, joined by Stacy Garcia, Owner of Garcia Cabinetmakers in Huntington Beach, and Paul Buchanan, chef and owner of Primal Alchemy Catering in Long Beach, specializing in local, seasonal and sustainable cuisine.

Brandon Smith is the founder of, a boutique spatial design and development firm in San Diego, California. Besides immersing himself in all things design, Brandon enjoys blogging about everything from furniture to shoelaces, always entertaining followers with his unique flair for fun. He hopes that his findings prove to be “educational, inspiring, and above all, ME.”

Coq au Vin ala DCoop

  • Chicken – 3lbs.  Skin on (the best part!)
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 5 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 4 medium leeks, white and pale green parts finely chopped to 2 cups
  • 2 tablespoons shallots, finely chopped
  • 4 medium carrots, halved diagonally
  • White wine – preferably Riesling
  • 1 lb small red potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • ½ cup crème fraiche
  • Lemon juice (preferably fresh)
  • Sea salt, fresh ground black pepper & thyme
  • Chorizo sausage
  • Swiss Cheese
  • 1 cup Crimini Mushrooms
  • Garlic Clove, chop finely


Sous Chef Tip! It helps to prep your veggies ahead of time. Chop Leeks, carrots, parsley, garlic, and potatoes before starting the cooking process.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place mushrooms in bowl, cover with hot water and let sit.
  3. Prep chicken by either preparing full chicken using French method of butchering or with pre-cut breasts and thighs. Pat chicken dry and sprinkle generously with salt & pepper.
  4. Heat oil and 1 tbsp of butter in a large dutch oven until foaming subsides and components have blended. I like to use a silicone baster to ensure that the butter and oil coat the bottom of the pan.
  5. In 2 batches, brown chicken on both sides, flipping once. Approx. 5 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to plate leaving juices in bottom of pan.
  6. In the dutch oven, add 2 tbsp of butter to the remaining juices. Cook leeks, shallot and ¼ tbsp of salt in the pan until leeks begin to brown, about 7 minutes (unless you’re using a Capital Cooking Culinarian Series range…)
  7. Add the chicken, skin side up, juices from plate, carrots, and chorizo. Add wine to oven. Most recipes say a full cup but I’m prone to drowning the chicken in a full bottle. The alcoholic content will burn off, I promise. At this point I like to add a little thyme. Boil the liquid concoction until liquid is reduced by half.
  8. Cover the Dutch Oven and place in the oven for 25 minutes. If additional time is needed, turn off the oven and leave in for another 15 minutes.
  9. While chicken is roasting – boil potatoes. Potatoes, 1 tsp salt, cover with cold water and bring to boil. Simmer until potatoes are tender. Tip: I love herbs and will throw a few sprigs of rosemary or thyme (or both) into the pot. The herbs very very lightly infuse themselves into the boiling potatoes.
  10. Drain potatoes and toss with chopped parsley to coat.
  11. Drain mushrooms, keeping ½ cup of liquid as a reserve. Chop coarsely. In a sautee pan, melt 2 tbsp of butter until foam reduces. Add garlic clove and heat over medium high until browned. Add mushrooms, thyme, and a little parsley and sautee until mushrooms are tender. Remove mushrooms/garlic with slotted spoon, draining butter.
  12. Remove chicken from oven and add crème fraiche. Season to taste with lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Add potatoes and mushrooms.
  13. After plating, thinly shave Swiss cheese over chicken mixture for additional bite.
  14. Serve.
  15. Call the maid because someone needs to clean up.