25th Sep 2023 @ 9:41 am

This is one of those dishes that is somehow hearty, yet light and healthy at the same time. A classic from the Basque region, the mouth-watering brick-red sauce can be used to accompany fish and meat and is also perfect for vegetarian and vegan dishes. Here’s how to make it at home.

The key ingredients of this dish are long-cooked, softened onions and the pulp of dried chorizo peppers. Any good fruit and vegetable shop will have pimientos choriceros, and they keep for ages. Readily prepared pulp can also be found sold in small jars, named Carne de Pimiento Choricero.


  • 1 red onion
  • 1 white onion
  • 30ml olive oil
  • 5 chorizo peppers (pimientos choriceros) or 1 rounded tbspn carne de pimiento choricero
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 sprig of parsley
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, grated (optional)
  • 2 tbspns of breadcrumbs (or one crushed Maria biscuit)
  • ½ tspn sugar
  • 200ml white wine
  • Two fresh cod fillets, or defrosted bacalao


1. Slit the dried chorizo peppers open, remove seeds and immerse them in a bowl of boiling water. Leave for half an hour. Remove soaked peppers and scrape the fleshy pulp from the inside of the skin with a teaspoon or the edge of a knife. If you’re using the ready-prepared pulp, a good, rounded tablespoon will be enough.

2. Chop onions finely, add garlic and sugar and fry in the olive oil for at least 30 mins. The aim is to get a soft, mass of well-cooked onion. Add the prepared pepper pulp and a sprig of parsley and cook for a further five minutes. Add breadcrumbs, wine and tomato (there are endless arguments about whether this sauce should contain tomato,
but it’s definitely worth trying both with and without) and simmer gently for at least another half hour, seasoning with salt and black pepper.

3. Remove parsley sprig, liquidise well and pass sauce through a colander.

5. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and add two fillets of cod. Simmer for five minutes but do not boil again.

6. Put a layer of sauce in a cooking dish, place the cod on top and cover with the rest of the sauce. Bake in an oven at 180 degrees for 20 mins. Garnish with chopped parsley.

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