There is something so comforting about potatoes. They’re a guilty pleasure on a cold day whether they’re baked and smothered in butter and sour cream, mashed, tossed in a stew, or puréed into a soup. They’re hearty, filling, and during the long winter, make an appearance in my kitchen often. Luckily for me, I’m not far from the Basque Region of Álava, known Iberia-over for their potatoes.
Patatas a La Riojana: A favorite Spanish dish
What happens when you take potatoes, throw in some onion, garlic, peppers and marry them with chorizo? Complete magic, I tell you! That’s why Patatas a La Riojana are one of my favorite meals to snuggle up to on a cold winter day. They are the kind of warm-you-up-from-head-to-toe, stick-to-your-ribs dish that sit in my (unofficial) top 10 list of Spanish plates.
Originally a dish for peasants, Patatas a La Riojana, while humble, are Spanish cuisine at its finest: unfussy, flavorful and utilizing simple ingredients with time-honored preparation. Spaniards are quite pleased to note that famed French chef Paul Bocuse, (known for being one of the chefs credited with introducing nouvelle cuisine) upon trying three plates back-to-back of Patatas a La Riojana said that a plate this good should represent Spain in the world.
Give them a try and I’m sure they’ll capture your heart (through your stomach) too!
Since this dish is ideally made with products from La Rioja and La Rioja Alavesa, it is best accompanied by a Rioja wine.
- 6 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and "broken"
- 2 picante Riojan chorizo sausages, cut into 1/4 inch slices
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- A generous splash of extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon of choricero pepper pulp
- 1 teaspoon Spanish pimentón (sweet paprika)
- Salt to taste
- *Optional A pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add garlic, onion and the bay leaves.
- 2. Add the chorizo and cook until browned for 1-2 minutes.
- 3. Add the broken potatoes, cayenne pepper, paprika, salt and stir well.
- 4. Increase the heat to medium-high, adding enough water to cover the ingredients and bring to a boil.
- 5. Reduce heat to low and stir in the choricero pepper pulp.
- 6. Let simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked, stirring occasionally.
- 7. With a ladle, take off the layer of grease that will float to the top from the chorizo.
- 8. If the stew still isn't thick enough, crush a few of the potatoes and stir.
- This is a method of cutting the potatoes so that they release more starch, resulting in a thicker stew. Cut into the potato only half-way, breaking off the rest with the knife. The broken edge helps thicken up the dish.