Well, it depends on where you are…
Chorizo, described at its most simplistic, is a cured sausage – but there are endless variations.
In Spain, it is traditionally seasoned with garlic, salt & pimentón – ground from a medium-hot variety of paprika with a smoky bacon flavour – and comes raw or cooked, smoked or unsmoked, sweet, spicy or piccante (very hot).
Chouriço, or linguiça as it is often called, in Portugal, has less paprika but more garlic & black pepper than its Spanish cousin plus buckets of Portuguese red wine.
In Mexico, it is typically seasoned with vinegar and chilli peppers and is usually sold fresh and uncooked, either loose or in a casing – obviously, it needs cooking.
What meat is used for Chorizo….
Most Chorizo is made with coarsely chopped pork, pork fat and, sometimes, bacon. You can buy it made with wild boar, horse meat, donkey, beef and venison. Surprisingly there is no trace anywhere of Lamb Chorizo although there are several recipes for lamb cooked with Chorizo.
How do you make Chorizo….?
Making Chorizo is not unlike making Salami. First, you grind the meat and fats together and then mix the seasonings, and fermentation agents (if used), stuff the mixture into, ideally, a natural casing made from animal intestines. The ends are tied together to seal the sausage and then it will be hung to ensure fermentation followed by drying.
How can Chorizo be used….?
There are two main ways to use it…
- as an ingredient when cooking to add extra flavour and/or texture and a dash of spice.
- served sliced on a charcuterie board or in a tapas with slices of cheese.
What’s the Difference….
…. between Chorizo and Sobrasada? As far as I understand it, they are one and the same sausage. Traditionally Sobrasada was made in the Balearic Islands and that’s where it got its name.
By the way, although different in flavour and texture, you can use a soft Chorizo in any recipe that calls for ‘Nduja.
Did You Know?
- The word Chorizo is thought to have originated from the Catalan Xoriço. Even today there are 17 officially recognised varieties of Chorizo.