Are you interested in Spanish cuisine? Then you have to start cooking with Spanish chorizo. Or you can just enjoy them with some bread and wine — take your pick!
Chorizo generally refers to sausages made from pork, which can be either fresh, semi-dry, or cured.
The popular ones are Mexican chorizo, Portuguese chourico, and Spanish.
While there are similarities in their preparations (and curing processes), the spices in each kind are vastly different.
What is chorizo made of?
Spanish chorizo is made of chopped pork meat combined with pork fat, then seasoned with garlic and pimentón.
Pimentón is a type of paprika, generally smoked, and it gives chorizo that intense red color.
The variety of smoked paprika used determines whether the chorizo is spicy or not.
Piccante paprika is used for spicy chorizo, while dulce (sweet) pimenton is for mild chorizo.
- Cured – these are fully dried because they underwent the aging process for weeks. These can be eaten directly and are often served on meat or tapas tray.
- Semi-dry – these are the ones you need to cook, and they are softer than the cured ones.
Both types come in mild and spicy flavors — so try both to decide which is your favorite. 🙂
Mexican vs. Spanish chorizo
While generally using the same type of meat, there are two significant differences between the two:
- Cooking time. Mexican chorizo is raw, so you must cook it longer, while semi-dry chorizo needs less cooking time, and the cured ones do not require any cooking at all.
- Spices used. Mexican chorizo is primarily seasoned with vinegar and chili, while Spanish ones use smoked paprika for flavor and its deep red color.
How to cook chorizo
They are excellent for making stews, soups, and just about any dish where you need to impart deeper flavor at the last minute.
As a rule of thumb, the more fat the chorizo has, the better it is for longer cooking — keep that in mind for slow cooking. 🙂
Lastly, natural gut is generally used for chorizo casings, which makes them completely edible.
Recipes using Spanish chorizo
Locally known as ‘patatas a la Riojana,’ it’s a perfect dish for dark, cold months (especially for me here in Stockholm).
You don’t need unique ingredients to prepare this delicious dish, just potatoes and chorizo. The result is always delicious potatoes coated with the flavor-packed chorizo sauce.
What you need is a lot of bread to soak all the sauce. Yum!
Why is that? Because you can use canned, cooked chickpeas.
So, when pressed for time but still craving warm, comfy food — this chorizo and chickpea stew is always a winner.
I know it’s a classic Portuguese dish, so I should not mix it up, right?
Unfortunately, I cannot find any Portuguese chourico in Stockholm, only Spanish ones — and I do not regret it.
Adding pieces of chorizo to this Portuguese kale soup completely rounds up the dish’s flavor. Simply delicious.
Try and see for yourself! 🙂