One of my favorite memories from my honeymoon in Portugal, was of a food truck that specializes in the popular pao com chourico (Portuguese chorizo stuffed bread). The lady who owns and runs the truck would bake these amazing little loaves to order in a wood fired oven, right there on her truck. She served it with slices of a local cheese that we stuffed in the hot bread to melt and mingle with the rendered chorizo fat. It was sublime.
I tried to recreate the experience at home using Jim Lahey's no-knead technique for the dough (which makes this recipe about 18 hours long in wait time, but short on effort) and sliced Spanish chorizo (which is relatively easily available). It worked better than I hoped. —Tanya
all purpose or bread flour, plus more for dusting
1 1/2 cups
sliced spanish chorizo
cheese of your choice, cut in small slices (optional)
Add the flour, yeast and salt to a large bowl and whisk to distribute the ingredients evenly. Add the water, and stir until blended; the dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rest for 12 to 18 hours at room temperature (about 70 degrees F), away from any breeze.
The dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface (a clean counter or a large wooden board works well) and place the dough on it. Sprinkle the top of the dough with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice, like you would a letter. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
Using just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to your work surface or to fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Dust the bowl you used for the first rise with flour and place the ball seam side down in it. Lightly sprinkle the top of the dough with flour and cover the bowl with cling film. Let the dough rest at room temperature for about 2 hours, till it is doubled in size. To test if the dough it ready, gently poke it. If the dough springs back, let it rest for another 15 minutes. If your poke leaves an indentation, your dough is ready.
About half an hour before the dough is ready, heat your oven to 500 degrees F. Divide the chorizo slices into six equal portions and set aside. Dust a large baking sheet with flour and set aside.
When the dough is ready, flour your work surface and place the dough on it. With a sharp knife, cut the dough into six equal portions. Take one portion, flatten slightly to about 4 inches long and spread one portion of the chorizo in the center (I place the slices overlapping the way they come in the package). Stretch and fold the dough over the chorizo like a letter and pinch to together to seal (take care with the sealing to avoid the chorizo fat seeping out while baking). Place this seam side down one the floured baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the dough and chorizo and place on the baking sheet at least an inch apart.
Bake for 20-25 minutes (don’t be alarmed if some of the fat oozes out onto the baking sheet and starts smoking), till the crusts are golden and the rolls sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Place the rolls on a cooling rack till cool enough to handle, then eat! If eating with cheese, take a bite or two off one end of the bread and then stuff the hollow with some of the cheese, which should start to melt into deliciousness.
If you don’t eat these immediately, reheat them in an oven at 350 degrees F for about 5 minutes to bring the crust back to life. Do. Not. Microwave.