I love, love, love sausage. I mean, what self respecting omnivore doesn’t like sausage? You can make it out of venison (one of my favorites), beef, pork, chicken, turkey, duck, etc. I have even had shrimp sausage. But today, by popular demand, we are talking about Chorizo. Chorizo is known for its rich red color and its smoky earthiness with a sweet with a gentle tang,
As a little background, chorizo originated in Spain (not Mexico) in the 16th Century. The reason it took so long for chorizo to be created in Spain is because one of the important ingredients, pimentón (paprika) wasn’t available. Spain had to wait until the Spanish explorers and conquistadors brought back the capsicum annuum from the Americas. You see, capsicum annuum is a species of chile pepper – are you really surprised we are using chile peppers???. It is the most common and extensively cultivated of all chiles and includes the largest number of and most sold well-known chiles from hot types, i.e. Cayenne, Chile de Arbol, Jalapenos, New Mexican, Pequin, Poblano, Serranos, Thai, etc. to sweet, i.e. Anaheim, Bell Peppers, Cherry, Hungarian Wax, Nu-Mex, Paprika, Pimento, etc. When the Spaniards returned home to Spain they found that you could dry these little beauties and make pimentón. They also discovered that pimentón not only flavoured the sausages beautifully, but it also had preservative qualities. As a result, pimentón was quickly adopted as an essential sausage ingredient in many of regions of Spain. When the Spanish invaded Mexico they brought pigs and eventually chorizo became emblematic of Mexican foods as well.
Now, Spanish Chorizo is different from Mexican Chorizo. Spanish Chorizo is stuffed into casing (intestine), aged and is more like salami; harder and smokier. Mexican Chorizo, on the other hand, is more akin to a fresh Italian sausage; juicier and spicier. I love both but find myself cooking more with Mexican Chorizo than with Spanish Chorizo. Of course, Spanish Chorizo is perfect for a cheese and meat tray with a little (or a lot – depending upon your preference) wine. 🙂
When we are in El Paso we shop at a fabulous market that has wonderful, house made Chorizo. It is incredibly good. The texture is perfect. It has the right amount of fat to meat ratio. The seasoning is spot on. I usually buy 5 or more pounds on the way to the airport, put in in a cooler and bring it home. Sadly, it never lasts until we get back down to El Paso, so I am stuck using whatever Chorizo they have in the DFW area. It is nowhere near as good. It’s the commercial stuff that has a grainy texture and WAAAYYYYYY too much fat/grease. The flavor is also off. Hence, given we like to cook a lot of Southwestern, Mexican and New Mexican cuisine, we needed to make our own Chorizo. It’s really not that hard and this is what we did.
- 5 fresh cayenne peppers
- 1 lb. lean ground pork
- 1 lb regular ground pork
- 8 oz bacon (I use bacon pieces for this because it’s less expensive)
- 2 heads garlic
- 2 Tbsp cider vinegar
- 2 Tbsp chipotle in adobo
- 2 Tbsp smoked sweet paprika (my preference is La Chinata brand)
- 2 Tbsp ancho chile powder
- 1 Tbsp Hungarian paprika (half sharp)
- 2 tsp. ground coriander
- 2 tsp. ground cumin
- 2 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp. ground white pepper
- 1-1/2 tsp sea salt
Now, you can always grind your own pork if you want to make this entirely from scratch, however, I find I can control the fat by selecting different leanness ground pork. So, start by grinding the bacon.
Next, add the garlic to the grinder
followed by the chipotle en adobo.
Now, following the recommendation of my friend Stefan, I made my own chipotle en adobo using the recipe by Pati’s Mexican table (we like her a lot) with some minor modification. These homemade chipotles en adobo are fabulous! Next, add some ground pork. This helps clean out the grinder and helps incorporate some of the seasoning.
add the cayenne peppers
Then the oregano.
Finally, run the remainder of the ground pork through the grinder alternating between lean and normal. Although this is not really necessary given the pork is already ground, again, it helps clean out the grinder and gets all the seasoning out of the shoot. Now that the pork is in the bowl, add the ancho chile powder
the ground white pepper
and cider vinegar
Now, thoroughly mix all of the ingredients to incorporate all of the seasonings. When done, I like to run everything back through the grinder one last time to make sure everything is ground appropriately and incorporated together. Viola!!! Chorizo in bulk. 🙂
NOTES: Now, there are numerous recipes for Chorizo – I found 2.1 million using Google search in less than 3 seconds. Some use cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg or a combination thereof in addition to the spices in this recipe. Others do not use cider vinegar. Others (most) don’t use ancho chile powder but rely upon the flavor of the paprika to season the meat. You can make it however you want but one thing is guaranteed, namely you will like your homemade chorizo a whole lot better than what is commercially available. It’s also cheaper to make your own which is a great added benefit. 🙂 We hope you give this a try.