Do your taste buds have a fondness for global delicacies? And does your soul feel at peace at the whiff of all things meaty? Then, you’ll likely enjoy chorizo, a little flavor bomb that explodes into a carnival of meaty, spicy, and smoky flavors.
Chorizo is a type of sausage, made with chopped or minced meat, which is then stuffed in animal intestine. But make no mistake - chorizos are no ordinary sausages. They are very spicy, with a rather unmistakable taste.
So, let’s learn more about this cold meat with global fame!
Chorizo is known to have come originally from the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal). The earliest chorizo was ‘a short piece of gut, filled with chopped, seasoned meat, normally pork, that is usually smoke-cured.’ And it didn’t have the vibrant red color that lures us today.
It wasn’t until the 16th century when Europe discovered the glorious smoked paprika. And over the years, this magical taste enhancer became a staple for spicing chorizos.
During the Spanish campaign against the Aztec empire, raising pigs in Mexico to produce chorizo became a popular practice. Throughout the 16th century, the Hispanic influence continued to spread. And chorizo started to become popular in other countries in the world.
Its popularity spread from Latin America through India to Southeast Asia, and all developed their own varieties. But you can say these are sub-categories of Spanish and Mexican chorizos.
Based on the production area, there are mainly two types of chorizos - Spanish and Mexican. You'll also find other variants from across the world, but they can be categorized as Spanish or Mexican.
Take a look at a quick comparison between Spanish and Mexican chorizos.
Andalucia (called andaluz)
Navarra (called pamplonica)
Segovia (called cantimpalo)
Chorizo en herradura/sarta
Chorizo en ristra/pepona
Classic Mexican chorizo
Chorizo verde or green chorizo
Did you know that there are some other types of chorizos from around the world. Here they are:
1. Portuguese chouriço - Similar to Spanish chorizos, these smoked and cured chorizos have less paprika and are loaded with garlic and red wine. Also, chouriço de sangue is a Portuguese blood sausage.
2. Chaurice in Louisiana, Creole, and Cajun cuisine - These Spanish-style chorizos are spiced with different types of chili, like red chili flakes and cayenne pepper. They also have green onions, garlic, thyme, celery, parsley, and bay leaf.
3. Colombian chorizo - This is a Mexican-style chorizo, though it’s much less spicy. It has less paprika than Spanish chorizos, too. It is popular in South America and is made of fresh meat. It contains green onions, cilantro, garlic, and vinegar.
4. Argentine chorizo - These are heavily inspired by Italian flavors, and the recipes and techniques vary largely. They often feature popular Italian herbs like oregano and thyme. Argentine chorizos may also be spiced with garlic, nutmeg, and wine.
5. Filipino Chorizo de Cebu - These are spherical sausage links known for the achuete seeds they contain. That's why they have a vibrant red color. They also have saltpeter and anise liqueur, among other ingredients, and have a hog casing.
6. Goan chouriço - These are Spanish-style Portuguese chouriços with an Indian touch. They’re hot and spicy, due to containing red chili, ginger, cloves, and pepper. Goan chouriço is also made with cumin, turmeric, cinnamon and vinegar for extra tang.
Traditionally, chorizos are made with pork meat. There are two types of pork chorizos:
However, occasionally, other types of meat can be used for making chorizo, such as beef, turkey, deer, or horsemeat.
Believe it or no, there are even chicken chorizos, sought after for the lean meat content. Last but not least, vegans can also enjoy the taste of the popular sausage - the meat-free soy chorizos
Clearly, there are different types of chorizos. They vary in terms of the preparation technique, meat source, herbs, and even casing, used in the process. And these factors contribute to the taste, aroma, and texture of chorizos. Still, we can safely say that the special blend of spices used in each type of chorizo gives it its specific flavor. In addition, the way chorizo is cured also affects the flavor profile and juiciness of the chorizos.
Source: Big Fat Tummy
The most common ways to prepare chorizos and amp up their taste and smell of are frying or grilling. You can also try braising, baking, and broiling them. They are good on their own as you serve them whole or sliced.
If you remove the casing, you may also put them in pasta and casseroles or enjoy them with enchiladas and tacos. Cook them on a charcoal grill or modern stove and their flavors will be intact. From being King Charles IV's favorite dish to becoming a hit at backyard BBQs, chorizos are so versatile!
If you're using chorizos with cured meat, you should remove the casing. Grilling, frying, etc., can make these types of casings chewy. But for chorizos with semi-cured or raw meat, leave the casing on, as it will soften while cooking. Note that some store-bought chorizos have a syntheticcasing, which you need to remove.
You do not need to season chorizos as they are already loaded with seasoning. In fact, if you’re planning on putting your chorizos in a curry, pasta, casserole, etc., or pairing them with sauces, be careful about the spices, aromatics, and salt you add to the dish to avoid a regrettable case of overseasoning.
Enjoy Cookunity’s convenient meal delivery service anytime and taste a wide range of chorizo recipes from top local chefs! Be it the much-loved Chicken and Chorizo Paella for a tasty lunch or the Mexican-Style Chorizo Breakfast Burrito for a spicy breakfast, indulge in a delicious and healthy meal without the effort of cooking it yourself!
Fancy making a stellar pasta dish with chorizo? Here are the list of ingredients and the detailed instructions:
Chorizos spiciness can make or break a meal, especially if cooked and added to a popular dish as an alternative to another traditional ingredient. So, are you up to the challenge and learn how to cook with chorizo, "out of the box"? Then, here’s an exciting pasta recipe for a hearty meal. Check it out!
This recipe will impress your friends and family, that's for sure!
And if you find this dish too complex or time-consuming to make, you can always try Cookunity’s chorizo pasta recipe - the Chorizo Rigattoni - a lighter alternative, served with fresh salad.
A: While chorizo has high protein content, avoid it if you're pregnant. Semi-cured and lightly cooked meat is not advisable to be consumed during pregnancy. Also, you should avoid these high-fat, high-sodium sausages if you have hypertension or a heart condition. Folks with with digestive problems should not eat overly spicy foods, either.
A: The primary difference between sausages and chorizos is that sausages don’t contain strong spices, while chorizos are loaded with seasoning.
A: While traditional chorizos contain pork meat, you will find many other chorizo varieties that don’t contain meat from pigs. You can get chorizos made of beef, turkey, chicken, and many other types of meat. There are even plant-based ones!
A: Vegan chorizos can be made of several plant-based sources. These include tofu, seitan, soy, pea protein, wheat gluten, chickpeas, beans, and other textured non-meat ingredients. Of course, their recipes also include many spices and seasonings.
A: Chorizos can be a rich source of nutrients. It contains high-quality protein and animal fat. If you’re on a low-carb diet or the keto diet for weight loss, chorizo will be fine to go on your weekly meal list. Chorizos are also loaded with vitamin B12, thiamine, and selenium.
A: Some chorizos, like the Spanish or Spanish-style ones, contain cured or semi-cured meat. These are safe for consumption without cooking. But Mexican or Mexican-inspired chorizo varieties contain raw meat and must be cooked to avoid food poisoning.
One of the hottest types of sausages out there, chorizo can spice up any Mediterranean traditional dish like pasta or paella. Grilled or roasted, they can also be served on their own, sided with a fresh salad or stewed seasonal vegetables. There are numerous ways you can prepare and eat chorizos, so don't be afraid to experiment!