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Kosher chorizo?

Does anyone make a kosher beef version of Spanish-style chorizo? If not, what would you suggest sbustituting?

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  1. I noticed it this past week on the price list at the butcher shop part of Le Marais, and was surprised, because I thought it was a pork product.

    I believe chorizo derives a lot of its flavor from smoked paprika (pimenton). I haven't seen smoked paprika anywhere with a hechsher, but if you can find it, that, plus some more neutrally-flavored sausage, might make for a reasonable substitute.

    2 Replies
    1. re: GilaB

      McCormick's Smoked Paprika, from their "Gourmet Collection" has O-U certification.

      1. re: psycomp

        Fairway brand has reliable kosher supervision on smoked paprika, as well as literally dozens of very exotic spices and herbs, such as red Hawaiin salt, smoked tea rub,, and lots more. Check out www.fairwaymarket.com .

    2. Perhaps, but it simply could not be called chorizo. Chorizo is pork and pork fat, with spices. I am a danish retiree, living partly in Mexico, with acceptance in the Denver and Mexico City jewish communities and eruvs. But with kosher chorizo, we are stretching words like Silly Putty such that they will have no meaning or differentiation from a more exact description.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Veggo

        Well, I rather get the point that once it's no longer pork it's not really chorizo. That would be why I asked about a beef version. The word "version" would suggest that it's a variant, something akin, not quite the same. Would it help if I asked about a beef sausage that had similar texture and spicing to a Spanish - not Mexican - pork sausage commonly known as "chorizo?" By this logic, one would have to remind the Jews of Italy that they can't call duck or goose prosciutto "prosciutto" since we all know that prosciutto is made from pork, not poultry.

        C'mon. Please take the question in the spirit it's intended and skip the semantics lesson. And thank you to the posters who gave me some good leads.

        1. re: rockycat

          I agree with you. But I have had chicken and turkey sausage that were expensive, well-seasoned, and so healthy and fat-free that they really sucked. Chorizo is supposed to be a slimy molten mess of undefined particles of pig, the last remnants before the squeal, stewing in a reddish liquid that resembles used transmission oil.

          1. re: Veggo

            veggo, i know that "reddish liquid that resembles used transmission oil" -- so THAT's the flavor secret?

            1. re: alkapal

              Alka, Iberian chorizo is higher price/quality and has less free fat, while most Mexican chorizo is low-price peasant food. This is a fact; not a criticism. I buy it; I like it. The "red" in the fat is dried, powdered chilis, but not exotics. I save the fat for frijoles charros, and a bit in my Veracruz sauce perks it up. I don't use lard at all in Mexican dishes, although it is typically a common ingredient.

              1. re: Veggo

                i've recently used "salvadoran" chorizo.... that color is natural? yowza! i'm going to start a chorizo thread, to find out the nuances in seasoning. edit: here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/578518#

                i'm sorry now i didn't save that fat. the crows liked it, though!

        2. re: Veggo

          No no no, there are kashrut and halâl chorizos. I go to a halâl butcher for some things (yes merguez, also for cuts of lamb), and once tried the cured iberian kashrut chorizo they had there. It was good, and tasted correct. It was apparently made from veal and goose.

          I'm sure you could produce a fantastic product similar to Mexican chorizo from kosher ingredients. After all, look at ashkenazi cooking, compare it to the food from the people amongst whom the asheknazi lived for 1000+ years; I can't think of a significant central european dish that can't be made kosher or that doesn't have a kosher counterpart. It may not be exactly the same dish, but it's a clearly recognizable variation, not a poor substitute.

          I recently found a nice kashrut Côtes-du-Rhone on accident (shopping on a Sunday in France) ... I bet it would pair nicely with the chorizo. I may try a surprise kosher/halâl spread the next time I have friends over, and see if they can spot the theme :-)


        3. Jeff's Gourmet Sausage in Los Angeles has it and many other sausages that are all very good. I believe that they ship all over.

          1 Reply
          1. re: chuck


            Second that. Jeff's is tasty, but very black peppery, which might put some people off. I reall y like it, however.

          2. BTW, I recently bought a "chorizo", made in Montreal, at Kosher City Plus in Toronto.

            Crazy, outrageous price - but nice and fatty, spicy, and hard. A ghoulish and moldy casing peeled of in small bits to reveal a tasty treat which I cut into small pieces and enjoyed with a number of dishes.

            But that price....

            Never had real chorizo, so I don't know how authentic the flavouring is.

            1. In Mexico they used to sell a vegetarian version of chorizo that was heckshered. The brand was Itzel.

              1. I tried chorizo at El Gaucho steakhouse in Brooklyn last night.It was excellent.

                6 Replies
                1. re: momrn

                  Some of the comments remaind me of the discussion I had with some friends about Kosher Paella. I make a great paella with chicken and... yes chorizo. We get the kosher chorizo from Colombia. The fact that very commonly non-kosher chorizo is made with pork meat is as absolute as to say that Paella has to have seafood. Yes, the most common Paella known in this coutry is the one with clams, etc... In Spain paella is regional and it can be found with any meat or no meat at all... Actually some regions make it with pasta instead of rice. So, chorizo can and it is kosher and a good kosher chorizo is fabulous! Colombia makes a great one with a good certificaton! Yet, again, not everybody can get it from Colombia :)

                  1. re: mrotmd

                    I'd love to get your paella recipe. I tried making a paella for Shabbat (thus my post about artichoke hearts) and it was truly putrid.

                    1. re: websterhall1994

                      I use a 26" paella dish with an outdoor burner especially made for paella pans.
                      6 chicken thights and 3 chicken breasts quartered
                      about 8 chorizos
                      3 red bell peppers, 1 whole garlic and about 12 cloves, 6 artichoke hearts, 9 oz. green beans, 3 ripe tomatos grated (no skin), 1 cup chickpeas 5 cups medium grain rice and lemon for garnish.
                      I heat the oil and roast the peppers. After I take the ppepers out I grilled the chicken on the same oil and then add the chorizo. Once the chicken and chorizo are nicely brown and almost cooked (they'll finish cooking later with the rice) I take then out and save them.
                      In the meantime I am warming about 10 cups of chicken stock with a few pinches of SAFFRON! (I forgot it in the ingredients).
                      alll this time the garlics are coming in and out of the oil... I don't like them burned but they infuse the oil. Saute the artichockes and the green beans until soft and pull aside. Saute the onion until soft and then add the grated tomatoes until the mixture is brown. Add the rice and saute until transclucent. Distribute the rice evenly pour the stock and arrange the chicken, chorizo, etc in a nice pattern. Don't stir the rice once the stock is burning. Continue cooking until the broth is absorved and the rice is tender I like it al debte my wife likes it softer. You might need to add more water. and/or cover with aluminum foil.
                      Oh, I forgot... salt and pepper to taste :)
                      Goes great with a nice sangria or a Rioja wine (both available kosher)
                      Next I'll send my wife's Parve Flan for dessert :)

                      1. re: mrotmd

                        Thanks for the great recipe! Do you have a version that is made with (Kosher) seafood? I need to make a paella with fish for a dairy meal, would love a more authentic recipe. Best, Rebecca

                        1. re: rebeccafriedman

                          Rebecca, you may try using the following vegetarian chorizo (cert.kosh)


                          ... and adding to that mock shrimp and any other firm fish!

                          Now you'll have "chorizo-seafood" paella. I tried the following recipe (kosher substitute, meat) and was really happy:



                          1. re: rebeccafriedman

                            Opps! sorry I didn't see the answer before. Í've never tried the seafood one. Rather than going for the Imitation Crab, I'd try to use some firm fish and do a Fish Paella. In the interest of Culinary Antropology, remember that Paella in the Iberic Peninsula is a varied as the regional foods. While most people are familiar with the Valenciana version, It is about regional cooking. The big requirement is the paella dish and to enjoy it with friends!
                            I've seen paella with pasta instead of rice in Madrid restaurants. How about a vegetarian Paella for a milk dinner? All of the ingredients have to be able to mix together and give and receive. That is why it is a must to enjoy it with friends :)

                  2. I think that the important thing in looking for a kosher substitute for an ingredient is not whether it has the right ingredients but whether it adds the correct flavor to a dish. I don't spend a lot of time worrying about whether it is "chorizo" if it has not pork. Trader Joe's makes a good vegan chorizo. I don't have one in the house and so am not sure if it has a hechsher or not but for those of us who are are willing to buy based on ingredients, it is a good alternative. It comes in an inedible tube, so has to be used crumbled, not sliced. And it does leave that oily sludge referred to elsewhere.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: easknh

                      It doesn't have a hechsher; When I first saw it, I was excited, hoping it did have one. Alas . . .

                    2. Melissa's brand makes a kosher soy chorizo "soyrizo" that is wonderful.

                      11 Replies
                      1. re: hindyg

                        We buy that occasionally. My husband loves it. We never know what to do with it, though.

                        1. re: rachelb99

                          Burritos and chili seem like good ideas.

                          1. re: rachelb99

                            We bought it again and I realized this is actually the brand we buy - Upton's Naturals.
                            Here is their blog with recipes and a link to their web site: http://uptonsnaturals.blogspot.com/

                            They are Chicago-based, so I don't know if it's available in NY.
                            Score one for Chicago!

                              1. re: hindyg

                                Yes, it is KSA and quite tasty. I had some last night added to scrambled eggs, leeks (because I had some), cilantro and salsa which I stuffed into a tortilla.

                                1. re: Kosher Critic

                                  I'm not sure I've ever seen this brand (Melissa's); does anyone know where I can find it in the Queens area? I have bought LightLife brand of what they call "Smart Sausages--Chorizo style", but I am not overly impressed with it. Then again, even in my former life, I never had real chorizo, so I have little basis of comparison.

                                  1. re: queenscook

                                    I bought mine at Stop & Shop in Teaneck, which, admittedly, is not in Queens.

                                    1. re: Kosher Critic

                                      I was actually in Stop & Shop here in Queens last night, and looked around minimally for it, even before you posted this, but did not see it. However, I wasn't sure where to look for it, exactly. Is it frozen or refrigerated? Do they have it with the "regular" food, the "kosher" food," or the "health" food? Thanks.

                                      1. re: queenscook

                                        It is in the produce area near the tofu and other soy meats.

                                        1. re: hindyg

                                          Another brand to look for that we got at Stop and Shop last night is Frieda's. Also under the KSA. I think Frieda's and Melissa's may be the same people.

                          2. chicken "chorizo" recipe seen recently posted by crewsweeper: http://www.jewishfood-list.com/recipe...

                            1. "Look at it this way"
                              another name for Kosher Chorizo is KISKE!!!! lol

                              1. Smokey Joe's in Teaneck has added sausages to their menu, and one is a beef chorizo. My husband ordered it as part of a sampler plate, and I had a taste; I was surprised that it didn't taste like pimenton at all. The other sausages listed on the menu are turkey sage, chicken pesto, and lamb merguez, if I recall correctly.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: GilaB

                                  I usually use sliced HOD smoked turkey cabanos and add smoked paprika and cayenne to replicate the chorizo flavors. It is readily available and I think it works well in Paella.