Rioja-Style Potato and Chorizo Stew

Teresa Barrenechea

Author, The Cuisines of Spain (Ten Speed Press, 2009)

“This is a famous peasant dish that can be enjoyed as an appetizer,” says Marichu’s Teresa Barrenechea. “It is typical of the Rioja region of Spain, as well as of the Basque province of Álava. Accompanied by a glass of smooth Rioja, it is a perfect winter dish.”


  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium-sized Spanish onion
  • 2 chorizo sausages, about 1 pound
  • 5 russet potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon hot paprika powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt


Peel and finely chop the onion. Heat a 2- or 3-quart stockpot over medium heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, cut the chorizo sausages in small (1/4-inch) dice and add to the onions. Stir for 1 minute more.

There is an old peasant trick to keep in mind when preparing the potatoes. Cut them so that they are the size of chestnuts. When cutting the potato, insert the knife only partway, so potato is not cut all the way through. To complete the cut, break the piece off. The broken edge of the potato allows its starch to be released more efficiently. Add them to the stew.

Add the paprika powder and salt. Stir the stew well. Increase the heat to high and add water just to cover the ingredients. Bring the stew to a rapid boil. When boiling is reached, turn the heat to medium low and let the stew simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. If additional thickness is desired, crush a few of the potatoes against the wall of the pot and mix them in before serving. Serve the stew in soup plates.


4 servings