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That’s Not Chorizo

March 17th, 2004

When I was a kid, my mom used to make Caldo, a meat and vegetable stew, for my dad. My favorite part was the chorizo (the “z” pronounced as “th”), the smoky, spicy sausage. When I went to Spain a year ago, I went chorizo crazy–I had to get as much of it as I could while the getting was good. I even took three full-sized chorizo back with me to Japan, along with three large cans of pimenton, the spice that gives chorizo its signature flavor.

Well, the chorizo didn’t last too long, though I was able to restock the pimenton during my visit home last December. And there is a Spanish restaurant I found in central Tokyo which serves good Chorizo (Spain Club, Tsukishima 1-14-7. Open noon-2:30, 5:30-10pm daily. Phone: 03-3533-5381). But other than that, good chorizo is hard to find.

Take what you can get at the supermarket, for example. In Spain, a good market would have a large meat section, where they have all sorts of spiced meats hanging, for sale by slice or sausage roll. Here in Japan, whatever there is in that area is not only vacuum packed in plastic but is also mighty tame in comparison, at least in most supermarkets.

And they do sell chorizo. Or at least what they call chorizo. But you know, it just ain’t chorizo. Pales terribly in comparison with the real thing. I mean, just look at it, here on the left. It’s just plain sausage with a little spice. Not the same thing at all.

I gotta get me back to Spain sometime. I’ve got a real Chorizo Jones going here.

Now, this is real chorizo, on the plate and in the store, in Spain.

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  1. Sausage Girl
    March 18th, 2004 at 11:47 | #1

    Dear Fellow Pimenton Hound

    Real Spanish Chorizo is often made from unusual bits of pig offal that you might not want to know about. But you can make a good version of Chorizo at home. The recipe below is a Spanish one, Mexican Chorizo is a little different. For an even easier version, omit the saltpetre and curing/drying stage. Just mix the ingredients, refrigerate overnight to blend the flavors, then the next day, shape into patties and fry. Think of them as Chorizo burgers, rather than sausages! Adjust seasonings as desired – I like to lightly toast the whole spices before grinding them and adding them to the meat. And of course, you can use either hot or sweet pimenton (aka smoked paprika). Or both.

    yours truly
    Sausage Girl

    The following recipe is from a book called
    “The Food and Wines of Spain”, by Penelope Casas.

    Chorizo Sausages
    Makes 6-8 sausages.

    3/4 lb lean pork loin, cut in 1/2 inch cubes
    1/4 lb pork fat, cut in cubes
    1/4 lb pork fat, ground
    2 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp ground pepper
    2 tb paprika
    1/4 tsp ground cumin
    1/2 tsp ground coriander seeds
    1/2 tsp sugar
    3 tb dry red wine
    2 garlic cloves, crushed
    1 tsp crushed dried red chili pepper
    1/2 tsp saltpetre
    sausage casings

    Mix together the cubed pork and the cubed and ground fat. Add remaining ingredients except the sausage casings. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Stuff the casings, twisting and tying every 4 inches. Hang to dry at room temperature for 3 days, then refrigerate, loosely covered with wax paper, and continue to dry several more days before using. They will keep for a few weeks in the refrigerator and freeze well.

  2. Luis
    March 18th, 2004 at 21:04 | #2

    Hey, thanks! I’ll give that a try once vacation comes and I have some time for a project. The ‘pig offal’ part does not sound good, but then again it also sounds par for the course. Remember the old saying, there are two things you don’t want people to see made: laws and sausages. You know how the health codes are: x percent of rat droppings acceptable, y percent insects and insect parts OK, z percent…ughhh…. I had a ton of chorizo in Spain and survived, so at least it ain’t poisonous. And I guess I should say that it tasted “offally” good!

  3. Gonzalo
    June 11th, 2006 at 11:25 | #3

    The sausage of chorizo that you show there packed is also made in Spain and it calls himself chistorra, not you if the makers wanted to make chorizo or chistorra but certainly those sausages of chorizo that seem very little to the real chorizo here in Spain they are manufactured and they call themselves chistorra in any butcher shop of Spain they rot you to sell chistorra that like he before said the chistorra although he tastes like chorizo it is very different to the chorizo seeming a mixture between sausage and chorizo.

    Chistorra comes from the word Basque txistorra, the chistorra is a variant of the chorizo it would originate of the Spanish province of the Basque lands.

    Gonzalo from Segovia in Castile & Lion province from Spain

    My Messenger is gonzalog15ARROBAhotmail.com

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