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Traditional Recipe for Rioja-Style Potatoes with Chorizo

(Patatas a la Riojana)

Written By: Byron | January 18, 2024
A large pot of Rioja-style potatoes with chorizo sits beside a small bowl serving.

Rioja-style potatoes with chorizo (Patatas a la Riojana) is a dish from the La Rioja countryside. It is a traditional main meal of very humble origins — made with potatoes, chorizo pepper, chorizo sausage, paprika, and bay leaves.

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Serving:

Main for 6

Ready in:

55 minutes

Skill level:

Easy

Serve with:

Fresh bread

Watch step-by-step recipe video

If you’re looking for this recipe’s video and many other great recipe ideas, why not check out our Spanish Radish YouTube Channel? We’ve got everything from quick and easy tapas recipes to delicious main meals, to incredible Spanish dessert options too.

How to Make Rioja-Style Potatoes with Chorizo (Patatas a la Riojana)

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 45 minutes
  • Ready in: 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large onions, diced fine
  • 35 oz. / 1 kg potatoes to stew (around 4 large potatoes)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled, whole
  • 1 tablespoon of sweet smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon worth of crushed dried chorizo ​​peppers (or sub for dried Ñora peppers)
  • 4 cups of water 
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 17.5 oz / 500g of raw Spanish chorizo ​(or Mexican chorizo plus add ½ tsp extra of smoked paprika)
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)

Equipment needed

  • 1 large pot (12 inches/30cm) with 4-inch (10 cm) deep sides.
  • Knife and cutting board
  • Mortar and pestle
          Some large potatoes sit beside chorizo sausages, onions, garlic cloves, and paprika.

          Method

          • Pre-Cooking Note: If using the chorizo pepper, soak it in hot water for 20 minutes. Once it is rehydrated, remove the seeds and stem and use a mortar and pestle to grind it into small pieces. For convenience, we used a Ñora pepper instead as we know chorizo peppers can be difficult to source outside of Spain (See more information on Chorizo and Ñora peppers in the recipe article). 
          • Start by heating a good splash of olive oil in a large pot. Add the diced onion and cook until lightly brown (around 5 minutes).
          • Use the side of a knife to crush the garlic and remove the skin. Add it to the pot with the browned onion and cook for 2-3 minutes.
          • Dice potatoes into 1-inch (2.5cm) pieces. Add the potatoes and mix well. Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
          • Add the paprika, chorizo pepper (or Ñora pepper), and mix through. 
          • Add the water and bay leaves and cover. Reduce heat and simmer for around 20 minutes or until the potatoes soften.
          • Dice the chorizo sausage into 1-inch (2.5cm) pieces, add them to the pot. Simmer uncovered for another 10-15 minutes or until you can see the rich paprika-infused oil from the sausage has released. (It will color the stew a rich orange/red color). 
          • Serve with plenty of fresh bread to mop up the sauce (optional). 

          Cooking Notes:

          • If the stew begins to look too dry out during cooking, add some more cold water. Add a little at a time, and stir through the ingredients until you have the desired consistency.
          • Patatas Riojana is not typically spicy, however, you can use Spiced (Picante) smoked paprika or a little cayenne pepper to give it some extra heat. If you’re using Mexican chorizo, this will already be spicier than Spanish chorizo.
          • Do not add too much seasoning until near the end of the cooking process. There is already a lot of salt in the chorizo.

                  Origin of Patatas a la Riojana

                  Rioja-style potatoes (known as ‘patatas a la Riojana’ in Spain) is a classic winter recipe from La Rioja in Spain. It is also found prominently in the Basque region of Spain. It is made with bell peppers, raw chorizo sausage, and potatoes. The dish is said to have originated around the early 19th Century and has been considered a contender for the title of ‘national dish of Spain’.

                  Outside of Spain, Rioja-style potatoes are hardly known. For many years, this recipe has flown under the radar of many kitchens, making this a fantastic dish when you want to impress. What is effectively a potato stew is transformed with the help of paprika, chorizo pepper, and fresh raw chorizo sausage.

                  What Potatoes to Use for Patatas a la Riojana

                  Russet potatoes, Yukon Gold potatoes, and red potatoes are all good options for this recipe. They will hold together and have a good texture when stewed. 

                  Potatoes and chorizo are a popular pairing in many Spanish recipes. Here are a few more to try: smoky Spanish chorizo stew with spinach and chickpeas, roasted potatoes with chorizo and thyme, and smoky sweet potato chorizo one pot

                  A large pot of Rioja-style potatoes with chorizo sits beside a small bowl serving.

                  Spanish Chorizo Substitute

                  While you can buy dry/slicing Spanish chorizo in many supermarkets outside of Spain, tracking down fresh chorizo might be more tricky. Specialty Spanish stores like La Tienda stock it or you can use a substitute. 

                  You can use Mexican chorizo and make some adjustments:

                  • Add extra smoked paprika – Spanish chorizo typically has more paprika than Mexican, so adding extra to your dish will give it a more similar flavor. 
                  • Add more garlic – Both types usually come with garlic but Spanish often has more. Check the packaging of your Mexican chorizo and if there’s no garlic, add ½ teaspoon of garlic powder while cooking. 

                  Something else to note is that Mexican chorizo will nearly always be spicier and contain chili. Traditional Spanish chorizo doesn’t have chili, although it can have a very mild heat from the smoked paprika. 

                  While there are other potential differences, for this recipe the main thing to note is the paprika and making sure you get that lovely smoky flavor.

                  Chorizo Pepper vs Ñora Pepper: What’s the Difference? 

                  Chorizo Pepper (Pimiento Choricero)

                  A native to the La Rioja region of Spain, these peppers are usually sold dried in a bundle tied with string. They are not typically considered a spicy pepper and require rehydration by soaking them in water for 20 minutes before cooking. 

                  Chorizo peppers can be difficult to source outside of Spain, and are more likely to be found as chorizo pepper ‘paste’ sold in small jars at specialty Spanish food stores. Online stores may also stock chorizo pepper paste (one such example is this Choricero Pepper Paste from Amazon). 

                  Ñora Pepper

                  The Ñora is a small round pepper that originates from the Valencia region of Spain. They are a popular ingredient for making paella and other rice dishes and are also ground and used to make paprika powder. 

                  They are commonly found dried and can be rehydrated and ground into a paste, or finely diced and ground. 

                  It’s not easy to find Ñora outside of Spain (although easier than the chorizo pepper), however, you can get them on Amazon, like these Dried Ñora Peppers. You can also try any local or online specialty Spanish stores near you. 

                  Water or Meat Broth: Which is better to use for making Patatas a la Riojana

                  We recommend using water when making this recipe as the chorizo sausage will contain plenty of salt. Meat broth or stock will add a lot of salt and may over-season the dish. If you prefer to use a meat broth, ensure it is a low-sodium variety.

                  Looking for More Dinner Recipes?

                  Nutrition Facts

                  Servings: 6

                  Amount per serving

                   

                  Calories

                  675

                  % Daily Value*

                  Total Fat 41.8g

                  54%

                  Saturated Fat 13.8g

                  69%

                  Cholesterol 73mg

                  24%

                  Sodium 1271mg

                  55%

                  Total Carbohydrate 48.7g

                  18%

                  Dietary Fiber 5.5g

                  20%

                  Total Sugars 3.7g

                   

                  Protein 25.7g

                   

                  Vitamin D 0mcg

                  0%

                  Calcium 65mg

                  5%

                  Iron 4mg

                  21%

                  Potassium 1489mg

                  32%

                  *The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.

                  A large pan of Rioja-Style potatoes with chorizo.
                  A large pot of Rioja-style potatoes with chorizo sits beside a small bowl serving.

                  Traditional Recipe for Rioja-Style Potatoes with Chorizo (Patatas a la Riojana)

                  Rioja-style potatoes with chorizo (Patatas a la Riojana) is a dish from the La Rioja countryside. It is a traditional main meal of very humble origins — made with potatoes, chorizo pepper, chorizo sausage, paprika, and bay leaves.
                  5 from 1 vote
                  Prep Time 10 minutes
                  Cook Time 45 minutes
                  Total Time 55 minutes
                  Course dinner, Main Course
                  Cuisine Authentic Spanish recipe, Mediterranean, Spain
                  Servings 6 Main
                  Calories 675 kcal

                  Equipment

                  • 1 large pot (12 inches/30cm) with 4-inch (10 cm) deep sides.
                  • Knife and cutting board
                  • Mortar and pestle

                  Ingredients

                  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
                  • 2 large onions diced fine
                  • 35 oz. / 1 kg potatoes to stew around 4 large potatoes
                  • 4 cloves of garlic peeled, whole
                  • 1 tablespoon of sweet smoked paprika
                  • 1 tablespoon worth of crushed dried chorizo ​​peppers or sub for dried Ñora peppers
                  • 4 cups of water
                  • 4 bay leaves
                  • 17.5 oz / 500g of raw Spanish chorizo ​ or Mexican chorizo plus add ½ tsp extra of smoked paprika
                  • Salt and pepper to taste

                  Instructions
                   

                  • Pre-Cooking Note: If using the chorizo pepper, soak it in hot water for 20 minutes. Once it is rehydrated, remove the seeds and stem and use a mortar and pestle to grind it into small pieces. For convenience, we used a Ñora pepper instead as we know chorizo peppers can be difficult to source outside of Spain (See more information on Chorizo and Ñora peppers in the recipe article).
                    1 tablespoon worth of crushed dried chorizo ​​peppers
                  • Start by heating a good splash of olive oil in a large pot. Add the diced onion and cook until lightly brown (around 5 minutes).
                    ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, 2 large onions
                  • Use the side of a knife to crush the garlic and remove the skin. Add it to the pot with the browned onion and cook for 2-3 minutes.
                    4 cloves of garlic
                  • Dice potatoes into 1-inch (2.5cm) pieces. Add the potatoes and mix well. Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
                    35 oz. / 1 kg potatoes to stew
                  • Add the paprika, chorizo pepper (or Ñora pepper), and mix through.
                    1 tablespoon of sweet smoked paprika
                  • Add the water and bay leaves and cover. Reduce heat and simmer for around 20 minutes or until the potatoes soften.
                    4 cups of water, 4 bay leaves
                  • Dice the chorizo sausage into 1-inch (2.5cm) pieces, add them to the pot. Simmer uncovered for another 10-15 minutes or until you can see the rich paprika-infused oil from the sausage has released. (It will color the stew a rich orange/red color).
                    17.5 oz / 500g of raw Spanish chorizo ​, Salt and pepper
                  • Serve with plenty of fresh bread to mop up the sauce (optional).

                  Video

                  Notes

                  Cooking Notes:

                  • If the stew begins to dry out during cooking, add some more cold water. Add a little at a time, and stir through the ingredients until you have the desired consistency.
                  • Patatas Riojana is not typically spicy, however, you can use Spiced (Picante) smoked paprika or a little cayenne pepper to give it some extra heat. If you’re using Mexican chorizo, this will already be spicier than Spanish chorizo.
                  • Do not add too much seasoning until near the end of the cooking process. There is already a lot of salt in the chorizo.

                  Nutrition

                  Serving: 300gCalories: 675kcalCarbohydrates: 48.7gProtein: 25.7gFat: 41.8gSaturated Fat: 13.8gCholesterol: 73mgSodium: 1271mgPotassium: 1489mgFiber: 5.5gSugar: 3.7gCalcium: 65mgIron: 4mg
                  Keyword 1 hours recipe, chorizo, easy stew, meat stew, Potatoes, Rioja