February 5, 2010 · 16 comments

Unearthed Treasure

in Meat,Rice

Jose Pizarro’s recent guide to Spanish cooking with rice and the chance finding of some Unearthed Catalan cooking sausages at a local store really got me in the mood to embrace the virtues of Spains cuisine; “No, not Spanish, Catalan” (Anya von Bremzen).

Catalonia (Catalunya) is a country within a country, with its own language, complex history and a wealth of artistic & culinary traditions. Catalan food blends Roman, Arabic and even Italian influences into one of Europes most interesting and distinctive cuisines; which today runs the gamut from rustic to the ultra refined. This region is of course the turf of Ferran Adria and his experimental disciples of elegant modern food art at El Buli. Yet Catalan cuisine keeps its roots in robust grills served with garlicky allioli, rust-coloured seafood stews to warm your cockles, earthy casseroles inland in which meats, poultry or the much beloved salt cod (bacalo) might be rather funkily paired with dried fruits, honey or even chocolate and most temptingly for me at least rich and bracing rice dishes.

Where to start though with these lovely sausages? How could I make the most of them?

Luckily enough for me Jose did a live web chat over on the Word of Mouth blog, giving me chance to ask for a little advice.

Jose suggested that to make the best of the ingredients I had to hand, I make arroz caldoso (soupy rice) — one of those much loved rich and bracing rice dishes. So onward to the stove armed with Bomba rice, sausages and various store cupboard staples to make a stunningly quick and delicious meal.

Arroz caldoso is basically a ‘soupy’ rice dish not all that dissimilar from paella in terms of flavour and risotto in terms of its aesthetic qualities. One huge advantage arroz caldoso has over risotto is that you don’t have to stand laboriously over the stove stirring away. Arroz caldoso should be like a soupy stew with a drop of the broth left on the top of the rice so you can get a bit of the broth with each bite.

The key is to use the right kind of rice, Spanish rice (Calasparra and Bomba being the most well known) is rounded and short; it absorbs liquid very well, and it stays relatively firm during cooking. Unlike risotto rice the Spanish rice stays separate and relatively ‘dry’ rather than creamy.

The sausages were incredibly dense and meaty, delectably flavoured with fennel and black pepper.

It is hard to believe that something so simple could become something so delicious. Just some rice, garlic and herbs along with some top notch sausages, meld together to create such a wonderfully flavoured meal.

Despite the meal being warming and comforting it also brought a burst of sunnier climes to our meal; no bad thing given that we’ve had an exceptionally cold and miserable winter here.

So If you’ve never made paella because it sounds a bit complicated, this arroz caldoso or soupy rice is for you — it’s very easy to do and tastes absolutely fantastic! What are you waiting for?

Arroz Caldoso

  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 400g tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 200g field mushrooms
  • 1 pack Catalan cooking sausages
  • 250g paella rice (preferably Calasparra or Bomba)
  • 6 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 1 litre chicken, warmed
  • Sea salt
  • Handful of chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Scatter the parsley over the rice and serve immediately.
  1. Heat the oil in a big pan or casserole over a medium to high heat. Fry the garlic for about 3 minutes, until it turns golden, then add the tomatoes and cook until the juices have reduced.
  2. Slice the mushrooms caps and stalks into 2cm slices and cut the sausages into half lengthways.
  3. Stir in the mushrooms and sausage slices, and fry the mixture for another 3 minutes.
  4. Turn up the heat and add the rice, giving everything a good stir, then pour in the wine. The mixture will bubble nicely; let the alcohol evaporate before adding the stock.
  5. Season with salt to taste, give everything another stir, then turn the heat down. Leave to simmer gently until the rice is cooked, about 18 to 20 minutes.

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah, Maison Cupcake February 6, 2010 at 15:51

I really enjoyed the Unearthed products we had in the food blogger connect goodie bags so if these sausages are of that standard then I’m sure they are very good. This looks like perfect comfort food for winter.
.-= Sarah, Maison Cupcake´s last blog ..Postcard from… Mont Ventoux and some good news =-.

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George@CulinaryTravels February 7, 2010 at 17:14

The Unearthed products in the goodie bag were amazing weren’t they. I really must buy more olives soon.

Very comforting but very alluring of the warmer weather too so perfect for cooler spring nights as well as the wintertime.

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Dan February 6, 2010 at 18:21

Lovely looking dish. I must get some of these sausages from my local Waitrose.

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George@CulinaryTravels February 7, 2010 at 17:14

Thanks Dan. Hope you enjoy.

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Anna February 6, 2010 at 18:47

George, that looks delicious!

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George@CulinaryTravels February 7, 2010 at 17:14

Thank you very much Anna.

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Leila February 14, 2010 at 13:55

Oh this looks delicious, what a great recipe.

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George@CulinaryTravels February 15, 2010 at 09:15

Thank you Leila, the sausages really are fabulous and the arroz caldoso makes the best of them.

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Flora February 16, 2010 at 04:43

What a lovely recipe. Now I just need to find some of those wonderful sausages.

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George@CulinaryTravels February 16, 2010 at 10:38

Thanks Flora. If you can’t find the Catalan sausages (although, they’re worth hunting out) you could just use any herby sausages you like. Chorizo might work nicely too.

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Vern March 31, 2010 at 03:41

I adore these sausages and always get some when I go to a Waitrose store. What a lovely recipe you’ve got to use them in.

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George@CulinaryTravels April 7, 2010 at 11:13

They’re great aren’t they. Hope you enjoy this recipe if you try it.

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Tom June 20, 2010 at 06:03

Thanks for drawing my attention to these sausages. I’ll get some from Waitrose this afternoon. Lovely meal!

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George@CulinaryTravels June 23, 2010 at 11:30

Thank you Tom.

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