Potatoes la Rioja Style

Metric version of recipe

Yields 8 portions

Ingredient Amount
Russett potatoes, peeled (7-8) 1lb. 14 oz.
Olive oil, extra virgin 3 Tbsp.
Onion, chopped 1 ½ cups
Green pepper, small, diced small 1 ea.
Pimentón ¾ tsp.
Bay leaf 1 ea.
Salt 1 1/2 tsp.
Soft Spanish chorizo, cut in 8 pieces 8 oz.


  1. Cut the potatoes by inserting the tip of the knife at one end of a potato and then carefully using it as a wedge to break off roughly 1 ½-inch pieces.
  2. Heat the oil in a 12-inch earthenware cazuela or a large, heavy nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring and turning them in the oil, for another 5 minutes, or until they’re hot and beginning to soften.
  3. Add the green pepper, pimentón, bay leaf, ¾ teaspoon of the salt, and the water. Bring to a boil, lower heat to medium-low or low heat, and cook the potatoes at a gentle simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the chorizo and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for another 25 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Taste and adjust seasoning with ¾ teaspoon of salt, or more or less to taste. Remove from the heat and let stand. The liquid in the pan should have thickened to a sauce consistency.

Additional tips

La Rioja cooks say you shouldn’t cut the potatoes with a knife, but rather cut them slightly, then break them into pieces. This is supposedly because the rough broken surface releases more potato starch, which is what thickens the cooking liquid. This dish is served, instead of soup, as a first course.

Recipe credit: Janet Mendel, as presented at the Worlds of Flavor International Conference & Festival. Published with permission of the author. All rights reserved. Presented at Seminar II B on Friday, Nov. 3, 2006.

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