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Caldo Verde - can't find hard spanish-style chorizo - just uncooked mexican

I'm trying to make caldo verde (sausage & collard green stew, Portuguese recipe) but we couldn't find any hard cured linguica or chorizo sausage - just the soft mexican-style sausage. Anyone used this as a substitute? should I cook it whole first or cut up and brown the pieces uncooked? any other tips?

… basically following a Cook's Illustrated recipe but they don't offer any guidance on the sausage.

also for future reference .. good places to find authentic linguica sausage to buy in SF?

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  1. Mexican chorizo is tasty but nothing like Spanish chorizo. I don't think it would be a good substitute. It can also be fatty, and contain cereal filler..mostly it is for a little flavoring in tacos or enchiladas; eggs, etc. When you cook it .. it will be more like highly seasoned ground beef; typically not staying formed when cut up. The seasoning is disimilar, as well. Hope this helps. Don't know about buying in SF but there are many online sources for Spanish chorizo; many made in USA like Aurelia's in Texas.

    1. I wouldn't use the mexican chorizo - the flavors will be off. Not in SF, but I'm in SoCal and my Ralph's sells linguica in the meat department, I've also seen it frozen at some Asian markets that carry Japanese items (since the Hawaiians use linguica and Japanese products often).

      1. Whole Foods has Spanish chorizo in the deli section.

        1. I made that recipe and it was great.

          I live in Los Angeles, and Spanish chorizo is not hard to find here. It is kind of expensive, however, and that's actually good news for you. Why? Because it means if you buy it from Amazon, you won't be paying more than I do :)

          This is my favorite one, because it is less sour and more smoky than most. It's also a drier sausage, so it releases less oil (but the oil it does release is incredibly rich and flavorful). I love using this chorizo for the CI paella recipe.


          Also, this company (also based in So. Cal) makes and imports a dizzying array of Spanish meats and cheeses, though as I said before I prefer Palacio


          Mr Taster

          1. I would not substitute Mexican Chorizo, different texture and spices.

            You should be able to find Silva's linguisa in all chain/major supermarkets.

            Silva is a Nor Cal Brand, Gilroy CA I think.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Alan408

              Agree, I would not use Mexican Chorizo, I use Silva linguisia when I make it.

            2. Around here (Massachusetts) it is easy to find Portuguese-style linguica and chorizo. It is cured, but not hard like, say, hard salami. It is firm and if you squeeze it there is a significant amount of give. There are a couple of big brands around here, but I doubt any of them make it to the west coast.

              The spicing on Mexican-style chorizo is very different than Portuguese. Spanish is closer to Portuguese, but still quite different. If I had to substitute, I would use kielbasa, which is not as spicy but probably would do in a pinch.

              1. >> also for future reference .. good places to find authentic linguica sausage to buy in SF?

                This is a question for the San Francisco board. You should repost there, and you'll likely get a bazillion answers.

                Mr Taster

                1. First, is SF San Francisco, Santa Fe or somewhere else?

                  If it's San Francisco, try Boccalone at the Ferry Building: even if they don't make it themselves, the staff is pretty knowledgeable and may be able to give you some pointers. SF-based Columbus makes a Spanish-style chorizo which is close, but distribution is hit or miss and I haven't seen it in a while (it shows up most often at a little Mexican grocery in Menlo Park for some reason). If you're in Palo Alto, you can get a hard chorizo at Piazza's (it's a packaged product, so try looking in the packaged sausage section of a large market like Whole Foods), and there's a charcutier who sells hard chorizo at the local farmers' market.

                  BTW, the East Bay used to have several large Portuguese communities. A quick google turns up a few markets there.

                  Now, Santa Fe OTOH....

                  1. FWIW, neither Spanish nor Mexican chorizo is the same as Portuguese chouriço.

                    If you want to buy online from Portuguese-American stores in southeastern Massachusetts (there is big, historical Lusophone community in the ports of southeastern New England):




                    7 Replies
                    1. re: Karl S

                      >> FWIW, neither Spanish nor Mexican chorizo is the same as Portuguese chouriço.

                      This was never the OP's understanding.

                      When testing non-American dishes, Cooks Illustrated engineers their recipes to approximate the flavors of the original dish using ingredients that are more commonly found on a national scale.

                      The article/recipe that the OP is referring to makes it very clear that Spanish chorizo is not a direct analogue to Portugese linguiça, but that Spanish chorizo will do as a more widely available substitute.

                      Mr Taster

                      1. re: Mr Taster

                        yep, thanks. Cook's Illustrated does like to tinker - collard greens instead of kale, chorizo for linguica/chourico.

                        Thanks for all who responded!

                        1. re: kingfisher5

                          And Cook's Illustrated overthinks things, too.

                        2. re: Mr Taster

                          I get that. Spanish chorizo is not, IMO; it's a soup I've made a lot and I've tried it with Spanish chorizo of the type available in the US (which is unfortunately a very narrow sample of the vaster world of Spanish sausages), and the texture is absolutely wrong, and the flavoring off. I think their judgement on that score is flawed. The texture needs to be closer to smoked kielbasa.

                          It's not like Spanish chorizo is abundantly available all over anyway. The real deal for caldo verde is readily available online.

                          1. re: Karl S

                            I thought about kielbasa but…. meh. Really want something with that spicy, oily, toothsome feel to it…..

                            1. re: Karl S

                              >> Spanish chorizo is not, IMO

                              Is not what?

                              I'm all for cooking using traditional ingredients and recipes, so you're preaching to the choir here. But for many people, it's not always possible. Mail order may be too high a barrier for a casual American cook. I don't see the harm in providing a substitute, as long as the article talks about the traditional ingredient/method too. That way the more intrepid or curious cook can take that info and head out into the wild to expand their horizon. Baby steps.

                              To use an example from my own life, I made CI's mapo tofu recipe several times and loved it. Here's the blurb before the recipe:

                              "To replicate the flavors in authentic Ma Pao Tofu recipes, we included chili oil, fish sauce, and Sichuan peppercorns, and used a cornstarch slurry to thicken the sauce."

                              Now, traditional mapo tofu uses ingredients that are simply not available on American supermarket shelves, such as Sichuan chili bean paste (doubanjiang), and in particular a specific brand from Pixian county, which is made with chiles fermented in barrels in the hot Sichuan sun, and the flavor of the real thing is not totally replicable outside of SIchuan province. Terroir or whatever.

                              Even in areas with large Chinese communities, like those near where I live in Los Angeles, it's possible that you'll only find an American-made doubanjiang, or a Taiwanese one, which will be similar but not exactly right. So the question remains-- how close do you want to get?

                              There is no fish sauce in mapo tofu, but the funk of the fish sauce is meant to replicate the funk of the fermented broad beans, and the chili oil meant to replicate the fermented chiles. It's a really clever workaround. Is it traditional? No way in hell. Is it delicious? Absolutely. Is the traditional version made with traditional ingredients a helluva lot better? Absolutely. But in a pinch, fish sauce and chili oil will do, and if it spurs a curious cook on to buy some Fuschia Dunlop cookbooks, then so much the better.

                              Mr Taster

                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                The OP said that Spanish chorizo was not available (right in the topic header). I was basically saying no loss in that regard.

                        3. while foods carries spanish chorizo. i find it in the cheese dept. across the bay in berkeley, the spanish table will have it. http://www.spanishtable.com/

                          1. I've used smoked kielbasa and it's quite delicious.

                            1. Linguiça is readily available at chain supermarkets and specialty grocers in San Francisco.