Foods You Should Know: Chorizo Sausage

In this blog I have used Chorizo Sausage in a bunch of different applications. So I figured I would enlighten those who had no idea what I was talking about and at the same time go over some of the varieties of Chorizo you may be able to find at your local farmers market.

Chorizo Sausage is a pork sausage that has its origins in Spain and Portugal. It is actually a generic term that encompasses sausage from a few different areas of the Iberian Peninsula.

Chorizos can be prepared in two ways. Either as a fresh sausage that can be cooked on it’s own or used in various cooking applications or as a cured sausage which can be eaten without cooking. Both preparations have the same base ingredients, coarsely ground pork meat and fat, smoked red peppers, smoked praprika, wine and other spices. All of this good stuff is mixed together and allowed to marry. Then the sausage is put into it’s casings. The fresh are sent off to market and the cured are smoked and as well as fermentation process is usually applied. What you get is a salty, spicy, and savoury blend of flavours that works well with many different cuisines.

Chorizo Sausage isn’t only made in europe. Mexico has their own spicy take on the famous sausage. Instead of the coarsely ground pork of europe Mexican Chorizo finely minces the meat. Instead or smoked red peppers and paprika the Mexicans substitute chili peppers, cilantro, and garlic. Regionally you get even more variation in Mexico. In the regions of Toluca you get a Green Chorizo which adds tomatillo and cilantro. In other areas, bitter mexican chocolate is used.

There are also South American takes on the Chorizo that get even weirder. Beef actually becomes the main meat used in South America. In Brazil, chorizo refers not to pork meat but blood sausage*. Cinnamon, nutmeg, whole peppercorns are all used in south america as substitutes for the expensive and difficult to attain smoked paprika.

The Chorizo Sausage in any of its forms is a great substitute for beef in a sauce, a fantastic breakfast meat and just an overall great thing to throw on the grill and blow a few friends minds with. As you have seen in many of my past recipes it’s a great way to put a different spin on an old tired recipe.

*Note to self, talk about blood sausage one day.