I have always wanted to make Homemade Spanish Chorizos for the classic Filipino Chicken Pastel. So when I got a sneak peek at the forthcoming cookbook Charcuteria: The Soul of Spain I got excited when I saw a recipe for ‘Chorizo Fresco’.
The Spanish chorizo is often used in Filipino party dishes. I’ve mentioned before that Spain’s 300-year colonial rule in the Philippines left an indelible imprint in our cuisine. When we have fiestas the party dishes, usually Spanish-influenced, are rolled out. Each region in the Philippines has their own specialties for the holidays. Filipinos are familiar with the sweeter-tasting Spanish chorizos which add another layer of flavor to the already rich main course.
This Chorizo Fresco recipe which the cookbook author, Jeffrey Weiss called the “most basic form of a Spanish-style chorizo sausage” is more savory and does not have the sweetness Filipinos are used to. After mixing the ground pork with the ingredients, I sensed a garlicky punch predominant in this sausage. I knew it would be a good contrast to the sweetness of a traditional Chicken Pastel, something my mom cooked for special occasions. The Filipino Chicken Pastel is a casserole dish made with cutlets, potatoes, carrots, onions simmered in a creamy white sauce base. To make the dish more interesting, Spanish chorizos are added. The type of sausages defined how special the occasion was. For a more elaborate dish, a pastry crust is added to the top, sealed and baked with the chicken, sausages, vegetables and creamy sauce in it. It’s a chicken pot pie, Filipino version, with Spanish chorizos in it.
My mom taught me how to plan ahead when cooking.So, last week, I made the Chorizo Fresco, shaped them into plump small-sized sausages and froze them for a few days. After a week, I checked on the Chorizos and they looked reddish in color, firm and ready to be cooked into a Chicken Pastel dish.
I pre-cooked the Chorizo Fresco in a skillet. It only took a few minutes. There were garlicky-fragrant drippings from cooking the chorizos right there in the skillet. The slightly reddish cooking oil rendered from the Chorizos looked attractive and aromatic so I cooked the rest of the chicken pastel in the same large pan. When the crushed garlic cloves sizzled in the hot skillet, I knew this was going to be good. It all came together in no time. There was enough creamy sauce so I spooned some over the savory, salty Chorizo Frescos.
The Chicken Pastel looked so pretty as I plated it next to a bowl of rice. Images of mom came to me and how she fussed over this dish, which meant the guests coming to dinner were pretty special as well. I never got the chance to cook this meal for mom, much less make her homemade Chorizos. I wish I could have had that chance. It would have made mom so happy that I did everything from scratch. She would have liked that very much.
Homemade Spanish Chorizos with Filipino Chicken Pastel
- Food processor
- Large skillet - 12 inches; Or a Dutch oven
- Mortar and pestle
For the Spanish Chorizos:
- 2.2 pounds ground pork belly
- 1 Tablespoon pink salt (or use Kosher salt)
- 6 cloves garlic peeled, minced fine
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 Tablespoon water
- 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil for pan-fry
For the Chicken Pastel:
- 2 cloves garlic peeled, minced
- 1 whole white or yellow onion chopped
- 1 whole red bell pepper seeded, white membrane removed, sliced in strips
- 1 cup chicken broth or water
- 2 whole potatoes peeled, quartered
- 1 whole carrot peeled, sliced
- 6 to 8 pieces chicken cutlets, bone-in, skin-on
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil for saute
- steamed white rice
How to make Chorizo Fresco:
- Place the ground pork belly in the freezer for 30 minutes to prepare before mixing.
- Crush together the garlic and salt to form an “ajosal” (Spanish word translates to garlic-salt) by using a food processor or else by hand with a mortar and pestle. Combine this with the ground pork. Set aside.
- Using a small mixing bowl, combine the wine, water, paprika and oregano to make a slurry. Cover and keep refrigerated till ready to combine in the ground pork.
- Place the ground pork which has the ‘ajosal’ in a food processor. Cover and pulse for 1 minute. While the meat is pulsing, slowly pour the wine slurry into the food processor.
- Continue to process for 1 to 2 minutes more till the wine slurry is mixed in well. Cover the ground pork chorizo mixture and refrigerate to keep it cold and easy to handle. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.
- If you do not have sausage casings like I did, make skinless chorizos. Have a clean, large plastic container ready. Shape the ground pork into 2-inch long plump chorizos. Arrange in rows inside the plastic container. Leave a space of an inch between each uncooked chorizo. Cover the layer of chorizos with plastic wrap. Cover the entire container. Seal tightly and freeze till ready to cook.
How to cook the Chorizo Fresco for the Chicken Pastel:
- On the day of cooking, thaw 6 pieces of the Chorizo Frescos at slightly colder than room temperature (but not frozen). In a large skillet, over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil. Pan fry the Chorizo Frescos for about 10 to 12 minutes till thoroughly cooked. Remove Chorizos from skillet and set aside.
- To cook the Chicken Pastel:
- In a large skillet, or else a Dutch oven, over medium-high heat, add the 2 tablespoons olive oil. After 1 to 2 minutes when oil is hot enough, saute the garlic and onions. Add the red bell pepper strips.Add the chicken pieces and braise till brown, for about 5 to 6 minutes. Pour the broth.Add the potatoes and carrots. Cover and simmer over medium heat for 45 to 50 minutes till meats and vegetables are cooked.
- In a separate medium bowl, combine the heavy cream and sour cream. Add this creamy mixture to the cooked chicken in the skillet. Add the cooked chorizos. Spoon some of the creamy sauce over the chicken and chorizos. Lower heat to a slow simmer. Cover and cook 5 to 6 minutes more. Make sure the creamy sauce does not curdle so keep heat low. Stir a few times so sauces do not stick to the bottom of pot.
- Season with salt and black pepper. Serve warm with rice.
- Cook's comments: I only cooked 6 Spanish chorizo pieces for this recipe of Chicken Pastel. The rest were kept in the freezer for other entrees.*In the original cookbook recipe, the author used a meat grinder to make the Spanish Chorizo Fresco. I don't own a meat grinder so I used a food processor instead which worked out well.
- Cookbook Information: Charcuteria: The Soul of Spain by Jeffrey Weiss is an authentic cookbook of Spanish butchering and meat-curing techniques. There are 100 traditional Spanish recipes, with easy to follow directions. This is a good resource for new cooks and those experienced in the kitchen. Available where most books are sold and online.
- Disclosure: I was not paid to review this cookbook. My views are my own. But I was interested in the topic because Spanish food and culture are closely linked to Philippine cuisine and history.
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Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.
Did you like this recipe? I have more Filipino Instant Pot recipes in my newest cookbook Instant Filipino Recipes: My Mother’s Traditional Philippine Cooking in A Multicooker Pot by Elizabeth Ann Besa-Quirino. Buy my cookbooks My Mother’s Philippine Recipes and How to Cook Philippine Desserts, Cakes and Snacks and my other books on Amazon.com sold worldwide in paperback and Kindle format.
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