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Braised Chorizo with Carrots, Fennel, and Creamy Polenta

Excerpted from Mallmann on Fire by Francis Mallmann (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2014. Photographs by Santiago Soto Monllor.

Fresh chorizo sausage is a staple on the grill in Argentina and Uruguay, and it has recently become more widely available in the United States. Here I combine it with some spicy cured Spanish chorizo and lots of grated carrots and tomatoes to make a hearty stew, served over soft polenta. The carrots slowly cook down into the sauce to lighten it, and the sautéed fennel, incorporated at the end, adds texture.


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Braised Chorizo with Carrots, Fennel, and Creamy Polenta

Recipe Notes

  • Yield: Serves 8 to 12

Ingredients

For the chorizo:

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 4 ounces thickly sliced pancetta, roughly chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 pounds fresh Argentine or Mexican-style chorizo, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
  • 8 ounces spicy (picante) cured Spanish chorizo, casings removed and diced
  • 4 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • Two 28-ounce cans Italian plum tomatoes, with their juice
  • 2 cups rich vegetable stock
  • 2 fennel bulbs, trimmed, cored, and cut into julienne strips
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the polenta:

  • 8 cups rich vegetable stock
  • 2 cups coarse polenta
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

Recipe Steps

Step 1: To make the chorizo, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a deep heavy pot over medium heat. Add the pancetta and sauté for several minutes, until the fat starts to render, then add the onions, stirring to coat them in the fat. When the onions have softened, add the fresh chorizo, stir well, and cook, stirring, until it loses its raw color. Add the carrots, Spanish chorizo, and herbs and stir well. Cover the pot and let the carrots sweat for several minutes to soften them.

Step 2: Uncover the pot and add the wine. Raise the heat, bring to a boil, and let the mixture bubble until the wine reduces by half. Stir in the tomatoes, with their juice, and the stock. Crush the tomatoes with the back of a fork, then lower the heat to a bare simmer, partially cover, and cook for 4 hours. The carrots will melt into the sauce with the tomatoes. (The recipe can be prepared ahead to this point; reheat before adding the fennel.)

Step 3: About 20 minutes before serving, prepare the polenta: Bring the stock to a boil in a large heavy saucepan. Gradually stir in the polenta and let it bubble over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 15 to 20 minutes, until it is thick and creamy but still quite moist. Beat in the olive oil and cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Step 4: Meanwhile, toss the fennel with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a bowl. Heat a chapa or a large cast-iron griddle over medium-low heat and brush with olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the fennel and sauté gently, turning occasionally, for about 8 minutes, until crisp and golden on all sides. Stir into the stew and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Step 5: Spoon the polenta into large bowls, top with the braised chorizo, and serve.

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Mallmann on Fire

“Elemental, fundamental, and delicious” is how Anthony Bourdain describes the trailblazing live-fire cooking of Francis Mallmann. The New York Times called Mallmann’s first book, Seven Fires, “captivating” and “inspiring.” And now, in Mallmann on Fire, the passionate master of the Argentine grill takes us grilling in magical places—in winter’s snow, on mountaintops, on the beach, […]

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