Chorizo Timbale

 

 

 

 

Several years ago a friend was working on a chorizo recipe and she let me try it.  Years have past, I misplaced the recipe, but the delicious taste lives on in my memory.  I wanted to recreate the taste, so came up with this recipe.  Chorizo combined with some traditional vegetables and spices, surrounded with a flavorful polenta.  Slice some and top with sour cream and a bit of salsa.
My favorite chorizo, bought regionally, is a dry Basque  sausage with a fantastic flavor.

Polenta:
1 quart chicken broth
1 1/4 cup cornmeal
2 tsp. Cumin
2 Tbs. butter
½ cup chopped cilantro

In a large pan, bring chicken broth to a simmer.  While the broth simmers, slowly pour in the cornmeal, whisking constantly so lumps don’t form.  Stir steadily for 5 minutes until it is stiff.  Add the cumin and butter, stirring with until well blended.  Remove 1/3 of the polenta and place in a bowl and place plastic wrap against it.  To the remaining polenta add the Cilantro and mix thoroughly.  Cover with plastic wrap, placing the plastic wrap against the polenta, so it doesn’t form a crust and put both batches of polenta in the refrigerator for half an hour to cool.

Chorizo filling:
1 Lb. Basque chorizo (I prefer chorizos from Gem Pack in Boise, ID – http://www.gempackonline.com/)
½ cup finely chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped red pepper (slice off 3 thin slices and reserve before chopping.)
1/3 cup chopped green pepper (slice off 3 thin slices and reserve before chopping.)
1 cup corn, drained
2 small cans sliced black olives, drained
1 small jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed, finely chopped
2 finely chopped garlic cloves
2 Tbs. tomato paste
½ cup breadcrumbs
½ cup chopped cilantro
3 eggs
½ tsp. Cumin
8 oz. pepper jack cheese, grated (separate 2 ounces of the cheese after grating)

Chop and assemble all your ingredients.  Remove casings from the chorizo by slicing down the length of the sausage and pealing off the casing, then grind in a meat grinder or cut in chunks and pulse in a food processor in small batches until it is the texture of ground meat.  Mix in a large bowl with the remaining ingredients, except cheese, until well blended.  Mix in the 6 ounces of cheese.

Heat oven to 350°.

Spray an 8 inch spring form pan with cooking spray, dampen hands with cold water and take a small amount of the polenta that has cilantro and pat out, put it in the pan, starting on the sides of the pan (up to about 1 inch from the top rim) and continue with the process, patting out until the sides and bottom is covered and all the polenta with the cilantro is used.  Make sure you dampen your hands often; it makes the polenta easier to work with.

Gently pat the chorizo mixture into the polenta, filling the pan until it is level to the top of the polenta.  Sprinkle the 2 oz reserved cheese over it and gently press it in.  Press the polenta down around the edges so it is even with the filling.  Wet hands and work with small amounts of the rest of the polenta (the reserved polenta that doesn’t have the cilantro in it), patting it out and placing it on top of the meat filling.  Smooth it out so there are no holes.  Place the reserved slices of peppers in a decorative design, pressing lightly so it is imbedded in the polenta.  Cover the pan with foil and place it on a baking sheet in the oven.

Bake 1 hour 15 minutes.  Remove the foil and continue baking 30 minutes or until the top is a light golden brown.  Let cool to room temperature and run a knife around the edge and remove the side of the spring form pan.  Remove the side of the pan.  Run a knife under the Timbale and slide onto a serving dish.  If you wish, you may refrigerate it, but bring it up to room temperature and even warm slightly in a microwave if serving the next day.  Slice in pie shape and serve with sour cream and salsa.  Sprinkle with a bit of cilantro.

If you have some filling left over.  You can form it into a small loaf and bake until done, about 30 minutes or so.

This takes an hour or so to prepare before baking, so make sure you have enough time to make it.

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