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Dec 8, 2008 06:56 PM

chorizo -- let's discuss!

i want to learn about chorizo, links and bulk-style.

1. what are the nuances of the seasonings in regional variations, like argentinian, mexican, salvadoran....others?

2. is it "everything but the squeal"?

3. what are the criteria to look for in evaluating quality?

4. how much per pound should one expect to pay for "quality" chorizo?

5. how do you use chorizo? what do you do with the fat rendered while cooking the fresh chorizo?

6. what are the casings made from?

7. what chorizo would you use for a spanish garbanzo bean soup? is that the "garbanzado"?

8. are some finely-textured meat paste, or are they always a rough grind?

edited to add:

9. smoked vs. fresh. do you ever "cook" the smoked?

thanks in advance! (please don't feel you need to follow my format,,,,) ;-).

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  1. I am no pro, but we lived in Spain for 4 years and the chorizo there vs. here (US) is quite distinct. In order of your questions, I think 1. in Spain it is mainly pimenton, in Chile it is similar 2. no idea, but I imagine it depends on the quality of the sausage, 2. price is generally a good indicator, other than a recommendation from the meat guy...3. hmm, no idea, 4. depends, 5. In Spain, we used chorizo for everything, the firm type was like lunchmeat, served in 'bocadillos', the fresh sort was in potato dishes, in eggs, links were always in soups, etc. The fat was eaten. In Chile the most delicious thing is Choripan, grilled fresh sausage in a small fresh roll, generally half of a bread called a mariquetta 6. intestine? 7. I would definitely use a fresh Spanish style chorizo. 8. All that I know are fairly rough, in Mallorca there is a sausage-type thing called sobrasada that too me is like a very loose, finely ground chorizo, but Spanish friends didn't agree.

    1. Great post idea! I would love to also know if there is any common brand or online source of decent chorizo. Everything I can find in my area has lymph nodes listed as one of the main ingredients, and I just can't bring myself to eat those. Does chorizo always contain lymph nodes?

      2 Replies
      1. re: Phoo_d

        I can't speak too much to the Spanish style chorizo. For best quality, make your own. Rick Bayless has a recipe that's pretty good. For convenience, we use Supremo Mexican style chorizo as it is readily available. We prefer the Pork Chorizo, no picante. I'm allergic to certain peppers and the picante makes me sick (but it's soooooo good!). We use it for lots of stuff from breakfast to beans. Drain off the fat rendered from cooking as there will be residual fat. It's greasy!

        Stay far away from lymph nodes in chorizo. It makes for a really NASTY texture!

        1. re: Dee S

          Tips for making your own with a food processor: Make sure the blade is sharp. Pulse your cubed 1 1/2 lbs pork and 1/2 lb fat in 5 batches to avoid overloading the machine.

      2. My roommmate in college was Portugese and her mom made the best chorizo bread. It wasn't a chewy consistency, but was still a risen bread with yeast. I've looked for a recipe but can't find anything. If anyone has one that can be posted, I'd be grateful.

        4 Replies
        1. re: chowser

          If you use the Portuguese spelling, chourico, you'll find many recipes on the web.

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            Thank you. I can pronounce it but wasn't sure how to spell it.

            No luck--I just tried it. I found some but they have peppers or other ingredients. This was bread w/ chopped chourico, no rye, caraway seeds, vegetables.

              1. re: Melanie Wong

                Thanks--that's the one that I found that looks like it might work. But (and I'm going on memory for a couple of decades), it didn't seem like a such a heavy egg dough. I do want to give it a try, though.

        2. I'm going to Andalusia this weekend to help my inlaws slaughter 2 pigs and make sausages! Every year they make 4 types--chorizo, morcila (blood sausage), butiffara blanca ("italian sausages") and salchicon (cured dry sausage). It will be my first time so I will be taking lots of notes. I'll report back with the details of the chorizo making process.

          A few things I know ahead of time:
          1) often casting made with cow intenstine rather than the pig. Cow is more durable and easier to work with.
          2) Traditionally, spanish chorizos are not smoked. They are made fresh and put into the casting. Over time it is dries out and becomes more "cured" in flavor and is harder. At this point you can eat it raw like you would a salami.

          My favorite way to eat chorizo is fried when they are still fresh. And eaten along side a fried egg and a good piece of bread.

          Chorizos are used in lots of soups and stews. Callos cooked with chorizo is popular. Cocido madrilenos is also really popular--that's a meat soup with chicken, hen, jamon, beef bone, big chunks of chorizo and blood sausage and garbanzo beans. That's one of the things that will be cooked up during the family dinner this weekend. It is a really hardy wintery dish.

          2 Replies
          1. re: mielimato

            espero que tener exito! (spanish a wee bit rusty!)

            1. Hey Pal! I asked about chorizo awhile back and got quite an education. Here is a link to that thread. I had some in the freezer ready to try but nasty old Ike managed to ruin that for me!


              Oh, and I got a brand that is made here in Texas, not full of guts, and it was $3.99 a pound.

              2 Replies
              1. re: danhole

                gracias a ti, dani! that was a good thread! it's a shame about ike! have you recovered completely?

                1. re: alkapal

                  Not yet! My freezers are still half empty and I am buying much smaller bottles of condiments. But now that hurricane season is over, we can at least begin to re-stock and take some deep breaths.