CHORIZO – Introduction
Come gather ‘round the campfire, prop yer feet up, let yer proteins unwind and yer prions re-fold, while I tell a tale about chorizo. Ya see, like Lucy, I got some ‘splainin’ ta do. (Insert Ricky Ricardo joke here.) Most Hispanic countries have several of their own versions of chorizo, that marvelous-tasting fermented Spanish sausage. Many inhabitants of former Spanish colonies have tried to make similar sausages, using local ingredients and methods. In most cases, they taste quite good but have a unique local flavor that doesn’t quite match that of real Spanish chorizo. …whatever that is. You see, even Spain has a number of versions. For several years, now, I’ve researched chorizo versions from various countries, and have discovered only one common factor- – they all taste good.
So let’s look at a few types that I like. We’ll start where I did, with recipes from South Texas and Mexico. Then we’ll look at the Spanish version which started it all, then at versions from El Salvador, Chile, Uruguay, and Argentina. Along the way, there’ll be couple of side diversions, because the food of northern Mexico differs from food of Yucatan, which differs from the food of El Salvador, Peru, Uruguay, and the like. We’ll only touch on Tex-Mex, mentioning the more traditional food of “the wild horse valley,” as the land between the Nueces and Rio Bravo (Rio Grande, to you gringos) rivers is known locally. We’ll do it in a series of postings, each with a couple of recipes, so our beloved ringmaster, uh, moderator, doesn’t get too riled up. …and with one exception, we’ll keep it pork-based, so our beloved following (both of you?) are assured that we haven’t wandered too far afield. After all, this IS a sausage-related website, right?
We turn to Wikipedia for a definition of chorizo, which references a book by Jerry Predika (1983), titled “The Sausage-Making Cookbook,” Stackpole Books.
“Chorizo is a term encompassing several types of pork sausages originating from the Iberian Peninsula.
“Chorizo can be a fresh sausage, in which case it must be cooked before eating. In Europe, it is more frequently a fermented, cured, smoked sausage, in which case it is usually sliced and eaten without cooking. Spanish chorizo and Portuguese chouriço get their distinctive smokiness and deep red color from dried smoked red peppers (pimentón/pimentão or colorau). Due to culinary tradition, and the expense of imported Spanish smoked paprika, Mexican chorizo (but not throughout Latin America) is usually made with chili peppers, which are used abundantly in Mexican cuisine. In Latin America, vinegar also tends to be used instead of the white wine usually used in Spain. Traditionally, chorizo is encased in natural casings made from intestines, a method used since the Roman times.
“Chorizo can be eaten as is (sliced or in a sandwich), grilled, fried, or simmered in apple cider or other strong alcoholic beverage such as aguardiente. It also can be used as a partial replacement for ground (minced) beef or pork.”
Many of the New World’s chorizos are attempts to if not duplicate, at least come close to the flavor of the original chorizo, a fermented sausage from several regions of Spain. Those original chorizo recipes are for fermented sausages, and require very special conditions of bacteria, temperature, and humidity for their production. Try duplicating one of them with anything different and you will, obviously, not produce a duplicate. So, for example, we find vinegar included in nearly all of the New World recipes, even though acid inhibits development of protein structure and makes the sausage contents fall apart, rather than adhere and hold together. There is a certain tang that fermented sausages have. People like it.
Some people maintain that vinegar is a substitute for wine. That may be right, too. It’s a fine point. Either wa, the contribution to taste is indisputable. It’s good, or the practice wouldn’t have been retained.
In Spain, Chorizo differs from longaniza in that they substitute black pepper for paprika and may have different spices like nutmeg. In Argentina and Uruguay, according to Wikipedia, longaniza is a very long, cured and dried pork sausage that gets its particular flavor from ground anise seeds. This results in a very particular aroma, and a mildly sweet flavor. It is a fermented sausage, rarely cooked. In Chile, longaniza is often substituted for chorizo in the popular choripán sandwich, grilled and served on a bun with chimichurri and other condiments. (We’ll cover both of these in the Argentina and Chile sections, below.) Unlike Spanish chorizo, longaniza can also be made of chicken, beef, or even (in the Philippines) tuna.
Spanish regional ingredients were not usually available in the New World, unless imported from Spain. Locals incorporated available ingredients. Thus, there are many variations of chiles used in the chorizos of the New World, substituted for the paprika, the dried red peppers or pimentón, available in Spain. Even Spain incorporated ingredients from elsewhere- – the best example being smoked paprika from Aleppo in what is now northern Syria, close to the Turkish border.
CHORIZO – Texas/Northern Mexico In this section:
- Modern Texas production methods.
- Recipe from “Wild Horse desert” to show a more typical meat-based food offering, noting how unlike the usual Tex-Mex it is.
- A home sausage recipe for a typical-tasting but healthier chorizo.
- Yucatecan chorizo recipe based on annatto.
- To show how the food influences the sausage, a Yucatecan Cochinita Pibil recipe and pickled onion accompaniment recipe
Current Tex-Mex chorizo production in the USA has largely abandoned traditional Spanish techniques in favor of a product that is cheap to produce, captures the flavor of Spanish chorizo somewhat, and uses vinegar to impart the sour taste indicative of fermented foods without actually having to ferment. The result contains pork and beef “byproducts” (salivary glands and worse), and far too much fat. When fried, this crumbly mixture (a result of the vinegar) practically melts, except that it is partially liquid from the start. Any attempt to soak up the grease with a paper towel results in loss of much of the flavors, which are oil soluble. You can, of course, scramble eggs in it and then blot the result. Try it once, just to taste it. Then, move on.
Starting Place: A “Dish From the Wild Horse Desert”
Surely we can do better than the commercial stuff with a homemade recipe. A good place to start into Texas/Mexican fare, across the menu board, is a delightful book called “Dishes from the Wild Horse Desert: Norteño Cooking of South Texas” by Melissa Guerra. This book-cum-memoir describes the author’s memories of growing up in South Texas, describing in detail the cooking in a region bounded by the Rio Grande and the Nueces Rivers, which is to say, from Brownsville to Corpus Christi, west to Laredo. There wasn’t much here, other than cattle ranches, until the 1920’s. Article from the Corpus Christi Caller-Times newspaper, a short history about the wild mustangs that lived in the region in the early years, furnishes a bit of early history. http://www.caller.com/news/2011/nov/23/chasing-mustangs-in-the-wild-horse-desert/ With the discovery of oil and gas in the area, the economy developed enough to build some infrastructure.
Better infrastructure enabled the leisure industry to grow, featuring beautiful, uncrowded beaches. Nowadays, “Winter Texans” flock to South Padre Island, although not in the droves once there. No thanks to the collapse of the Mexican peso (several times), the collapse of domestic oil drilling in the ‘70s and ‘80s, and the drug cartel violence along the border which began after the system of bribes and kickbacks was disrupted by voting the PRI out of office, poor little Corpus Christi, often called the “Sparkling City by the Sea,” remains not quite a destination, not quite on the road to anywhere, needing a bath and a new coat of paint.
But we digress. Back to things edible. In South Texas, the favored breakfast item is the breakfast burrito. These tacos, best made with yellow corn tortillas, feature scrambled eggs with a variety of additives. Unless you ask specifically for corn tortillas (or even more specifically, for yellow corn tortillas), flour tortillas are the delivery vehicle. Refried pinto beans, cheese, potatoes (home fries), bacon… just a few of the choices. …and, of course, my favorite, “taquitos de chorizo con huevo,” breakfast tacos of scrambled egg with chorizo.
To do this delicacy justice, several items should be noted.
1. Traditionally, salsa, pico de gallo (chopped tomato/onion/jalapeño) and fresh cilantro are added.
2. Never eat one in a moving car. Just like texting while driving, a taquito can cause the driver to lose focus, in this case swerving as the contents fall into his or her lap.
Once, on the way to the airport in brand new coat-and-tie, I managed to drop greasy chorizo con huevos onto a spot best not described. I cleaned it up as best I could, sighed, and boarded the morning flight to DFW. By the time I arrived at the offices in Fort Worth, all that was left was a greasy stain right where it shouldn’t be.
Unfortunately, I did get the job. It turned out to be a lateral move full of headaches, and nearly destroyed my career. I learned two things that morning:
1. Never eat a breakfast taco in the car, and
2. Never take a job with the word “Coordinator” in the title.
…but it did get me into a new hobby, homemade sausage, so it wasn’t all bad.
Years later and several jobs since, I have overcome the greasy chorizo problem. You can too. Make your own. Melissa Guerra’s book furnished a good starting place. (see pages 188-189) Melissa’s easy, simple-to-make recipe is as follows. Note that this version is not nearly as fatty as the commercially available chorizos of today.
- 6 ancho chiles (about 4 ounces)
- 2 or 3 garlic cloves
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 1 Tbsp ground black pepper
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- 5 lbs ground pork
- 1 ½ cups water
Puree the ancho chiles and garlic in the water. Place the puree into a large bowl. Add everything else except the pork, and mix well. Then add the pork and mix by hand until well blended. Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours.
Our own Tex/Mex Blend
Let’s reduce the amount of fat by making our own blend. Here’s mine (developed from several recipes found in cookbooks and on-line, then honed by trial and (mostly) error. …hope you like it. Here are some places to “comparison shop” for recipes:
…and here’s my recipe, which can be found at
- 2 lbs. pork (fat trimmings removed)
- 1/2 lb. pork trimmings
- 12 gm non-iodized salt (reduce if using cure)
- 3.1 gm cure #1 (optional, mandatory if sausage is to be smoked)
- 0.75 gm pepper (black)
- 20 gm garlic (6 medium cloves – fresh)
- 24 gm chile- ancho (remove stems & seeds, grind)
- 13 gm chile-pasillo (remove stems & seeds, grind)
- 0.2 gm cloves (ground)
- 0.7 gm coriander (ground)
- 0.4 gm cumin (ground)
- 0.4 gm oregano
- 7.8 gm paprika (sweet)
- 100 ml vinegar
For the chiles, shop in the Hispanic section of your local food market. Some equivalents:
—(Use about 3) 5 chiles anchos mulatos = 53 gm whole, 37 gm seeded
—(Use a large one) 2 chiles passillas = 29 gm whole, 23 gm seeded
• Dissolve salt and cure in vinegar before mixing them and the spices into the meat, for better distribution.
• Season for a day or two in the refrigerator, then stuff. I use this sausage in crumbled for, so I usually put it into plastic sandwich bags rolled to look like stuffed sausage. These fit nicely, side by side, into one-gallon plastic freezer bags.
• Fresh sausage is good for three days, so freeze what you don’t need immediately and pull it out, a link at a time, as you need it.
• Use cure, whether you smoke the sausage or not. Do not smoke unless cure is added.
• Fat content: about 25%. Cure concentration works out to 149 ppm nitrite.
Handling Chiles: While we’re at it, let’s add an admonition about chiles and their handling (from my web post cited above):
Hazard prevention. (The following is ripped off from http://missvickie.com/how…s/heatscale.htm which you should refer to for additional information on pepper types and such.)
How to Stop the Heat: Its a good idea to use gloves or put plastic baggies over you hands to avoid getting the hot oils on you skin. Alternatively, if nothing else is available, you can try to protect your hands by coating them lightly with vegetable oil as a barrier. Never touch your eyes or mouth, or any part of your body when handling hot peppers.
Putting Out The Fire:
On your skin: Water only spreads the fire so don’t wash your hand until you neutralize the heat. Capsaicin — the compound that gives peppers their heat isn’t soluble in water, but chlorine or ammonia turns it into a salt, which IS soluble in water. In a little bowl add 1 part bleach to 5 parts water and just dip your hands quickly, but don’t soak your hands in this solution or it may irritate your skin.
In your mouth: Many people recommend drinking tomato juice or eating a fresh lemon or lime, the theory being that the acid counteracts the alkalinity of the capsaicin.
Dairy products are a good antidote to overheating. Capsaicin dissolves easily in the fats found in dairy products. So when you put a dab of sour cream in your mouth along with (or after) a bite of hot stuff, you’re adding pretty effective dilution. The capsaicin and dairy fats mix together, keeping some of the capsaicin molecules from finding the pain receptors on your tongue. Remember, though, it’s the fat that provides the relief, so don’t expect the same results from low-fat sour cream or nonfat yogurts. This antidote tones down many spicy cuisines, from the use of sour cream with Mexican food to the yogurt condiments eaten with Indian meals. In Thai cuisine, rich coconut milk serves much the same purpose,
And finally, this advice: Wear rubber gloves when making sausage, and wash frequently. It’s not only more sanitary, it guards against pepper problems.
CHORIZO – Spanish
Traditional techniques, two recipes with citations, several Spanish regions’ product descriptions.
The Spanish versions of chorizo are what started it all, so let’s explore Spanish chorizo a bit. I’ll start by again borrowing from Wikipedia, and note that they do a great job by accepting contributions from many readers, edited by many readers, providing a valuable asset for us all. (Please consider contributing.)
“Chorizo can be a fresh sausage, in which case it must be cooked, but in Europe it is more frequently a fermented cured smoked sausage, in which case it is usually sliced and eaten without cooking. Spanish chorizo and Portuguese chouriço get their distinctive smokiness and deep red color from dried smoked red peppers (pimentón/pimentão or colorau).”
Think of chorizo as the Spanish version of salami. It can be eaten as such, but is probably more often used as a seasoning for other dishes. My personal preference is chopping it up, frying it a little in the pan before adding eggs, then adding and scrambling a couple of eggs in the pan.
Readers who know Spanish food will recognize this as similar to a Spanish “tortilla,” a round, flat egg dish similar to an omelet. All sorts of additives can be included. Onion and bell pepper are our favorites. Those of us who live in Texas and northern Mexico, however, refer to this as “huevos revueltos con chorizo,” scrambled eggs with chorizo. (…or in my family, “revolting eggs with chorizo.” Hey! What can I say? We enjoy our breakfasts together, often trampling several languages at a sitting.)
The last few years have seen the availability of Spanish imports as well as a few local attempts. Please try them. This will establish a benchmark for comparison. In Texas, our local folks, the “HEB” chain, carry one or two different chorizos at a time, fermented and dried and vacuum packed. These differ from the local Tex-Mex variety, which is a fresh sausage with far too much fat and with parts of the hog that are not normally sold to consumers. Like legislation, some sausage components should not be discussed in polite company. If you are into “parts and byproducts” as well as sausages with 50% or more fat, try ‘em. …once, for comparison. Then, try one or more of the recipes that follow.
The Spanish language side of Wikipedia gives a good discussion of chorizo in general. Parts of http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chorizo are translated below, for your enjoyment and edification.
Chorizo en España
En España es un embutido curado (bien al aire, bien ahumado), elaborado principalmente a base de carne de cerdo picada y adobada con especias, siendo la más característica el pimentón, que es el elemento más distintivo del chorizo frente a otras salchichas, y también el que le da su color característico rojo. La piel de este tipo de salchicha suele ser intestino delgado de cerdo, aunque también se utiliza el intestino grueso del mismo para la variedad de chorizo cular. En España, para que un embutido sea llamado chorizo, ha de llevar necesariamente pimentón y ajo; esto lo diferencia del chorizo de otros países.3 Es popular la tortilla de chorizo.
Entre las variedades de chorizo es famosa la riojana, así como la de Pamplona, que se caracteriza por usar carne muy finamente picada. Otros chorizos afamados se pueden encontrar en la provincia de Salamanca, así como en Segovia (destacan los de Cantimpalos, IGP), Potes (Cantabria), León, Asturias (generalmente ahumados) y Navarra, donde son populares sus chistorras.
Chorizo in Spain
In Spain, Chorizo is a cured sausage (either air, or smoked), made mainly of minced pork and seasoned with spices, the most characteristic of which is paprika, the most distinctive element of chorizo when compared with other (salchichas) sausages, and which also gives it its characteristic red color. The skin of this type of sausage usually is pig small intestine, although the large intestine is used. In Spain, for a sausage to be called a chorizo, it must primarily feature paprika and garlic in lead roles. This differentiates it from other countries’ chorizos, which often do not. The chorizo omelet is popular.
Among the famous varieties of sausage are famous Rioja, as well as that of Pamplona, which is characterized by using very finely chopped meat. Other famous chorizos can be found in the province of Salamanca and Segovia (Cantimpalos, PGI region), Potes (Cantabria), Leon, Asturias (usually smoked) and Navarre, where their chistorras (chorizo production places) are popular.
For a fermented example, our good friends at http://www.wedlinydomowe.com/sausage-recipes/chorizo provide the following commentary and recipe, plus a list of variations.
“Spanish Chorizo is a dry sausage made from cured pork and is air dried until ready for consumption. Pork is coarsely chopped and seasoned with pepper, paprika and garlic. Spanish smoked paprika (sweet, bittersweet or hot) known as Pimentón gives it its deep red color.
- 1000 gm. lean pork, ham or butt (<20% fat)
- 28.0 gm salt (5 tsp.)
- 5.0 gm Cure #2 (1 tsp)
- 2.0 gm dextrose (glucose) (⅓ tsp)
- 2.0 gm sugar (⅓ tsp.)
- 6.0 gm black pepper (3 tsp)
- 20 gm Spanish smoked paprika (pimentón) (10 tsp)
- 2.0 gm oregano (1 tsp)
- 2.0 gm garlic powder (or 2 cloves [7 g] fresh) (1 tsp.)
- 0.12 gm T-SPX culture (use scale)
1. Grind pork through ⅛” plate (3 mm).
2. Mix all ingredients with meat.
3. Stuff firmly into 32-36 mm hog casings, form 6” long links.
4. Ferment at 20º C (68º F) for 72 hours, 90-85% humidity.
5. Dry for 2 months at 16-12º C (60-54º F), 85-80% humidity.
6. Store sausages at 10-15º C (50-59º F), <75% humidity.
Note that this is a fermented sausage, and that cure #2 is used.
/* The following inserts a 4 col x 8 row table for recipes
Notes on Spanish Chorizo Types:
• Chorizo Riojano – pork, salt, hot pimentón, sweet pimentón, garlic.
• Chorizo Castellano – pork, salt, hot pimentón, sweet pimentón, garlic, oregano.
• Chorizo Cantipalos – pork, salt, pimentón, garlic, oregano.
• Chorizo Navarro – pork, salt, sweet pimentón, garlic.
• Chorizo Salmantino – lean meat, salt, pimenón, garlic, oregano.
• Chorizo Andaluz – pork, salt, black pepper, pimentón, cloves, garlic, white dry wine.
• Chorizo Calendario – pork, beef, salt, pepper, garlic, oregano.
Home-Made Chorizo: If, like me, you don’t have the equipment to properly control temperature and humidity while your sausage luxuriates in its fermentation, try a homemade Spanish chorizo, done as a fresh sausage. Here’s one from http://www.sausagemania.com/recipes2.html. Quoting again, chorizo…
“…can really be made only in Spain, where entire villages are devoted to its manufacture, The product is air-cured for up to four months in special high-ceilinged rooms. Some chorizois smoked; some is not. This recipe does not call for smoking, but because the dominantflavoring is smoked paprika, the sausage has a refined smoky flavor that does not overpower.
“The Aleppo pepper adds a rich red pepper overtone as well as a mild (and delayed) piquancy that slowly fills the mouth with warmth rather than assaulting the tongue and palate in the more forthright manner of jalapeños or hot chili peppers.
“Grind the pork coarsely (3/8″ or larger plate). You may have difficulty finding Aleppo pepper, also known as Near East pepper, ground from a sweet, sharp chile grown in the Aleppo region of Syria. One source we know is World Spice Merchants, in Seattle, Washington. Smoked paprika, from Spain, comes in three varieties: sweet, bittersweet and hot. We use the sweet (dulce) variety.
“Mix all the ingredients together and refrigerate for 24 hours. Stuff into medium hog casings. “
[table id=3 /]
[to be continued “Real Soon Now.” (Sorry about that.)]
scaled Base recipe Ingredient
2.5 lb 1 lb Ground pork
4 tsp ½ Tablespoon Coarse salt
4 cloves 1-½ cloves Garlic, crushed or finely chopped
1 tsp 0.4 teaspoons Ground nutmeg
2 T 0.8 Tablespoons Brown sugar
2 T 0.8 Tablespoons Smoked paprika
2 T 0.8 Tablespoons Aleppo pepper
I would advise adding the appropriate amount of cure #1 here (150 ppm of sodium nitrite, which is 6.25% of cure #1, so about 2.7 grams for the 2.5 pound batch), whether or not you plan to smoke the sausage. (Back down on the salt as appropriate.) For an alternate source of herbs and spices, try Penzey’s, which has a sizeable mail order operation as well as retail stores in many cities across the USA.
A Spanish Dish – Paella:
Chorizo is wonderful as a seasoning. Here, for example, is a recipe given to me a number of years ago by a homesick Spanish friend named Jose M. Padillo, who lived in Dallas at the time. This is his family’s take on the classic dish, Paella, with a few of my own notes. He could get advice from his relatives. (I couldn’t, and learned some of them the hard way.) Alongside his recipe and my translation is a version from “Frugal Gourmet” Jeff Smith. His recipe serves to highlight what can be substituted, but also points out how Americanization can creep into a recipe.
Is the recipe authentic? Well, to make a long story short, we once asked a stewardess on a flight to Madrid where to eat, especially paella. …bad idea. She rolled her eyes and made an off-color remark about “they eat ‘things with eyes’ .there.“ Like most Americans, she thought in terms of American fast food, something which should have tasted like it was from a familiar Tex/Mex fast food chain that she knew from home. Spanish food is a much more refined, European style of dish. Spanish is to Tex/Mex fast food as French food is to French toast fast food. What a pity that she, like most tourists, was unwilling to step outside the familiarity of the aircraft cabin or away from the guided tour when traveling.
Madrid is more European than Spanish, yet has its own unique Spanish soul. Sevilla has that special quality, even more so. The pueblos blancas, little old fortress towns perched on the top of rocks in bends of the rivers, have a medieval atmosphere and are a rare delight. Cadiz is unique, especially in historical perspective- – centuries from now, one could stand on its shores and think about shipping out for the New World, be it 15th century America or the orient or maybe, by then, new worlds in space. …and the food, unique but with European and North African roots, was fabulous along the entire route.
But, back to reality. Enjoy the following recipe, which compares my friend’s family preferences with an American cooking author’s. Note that Smith uses everything in sight, whereas the Padillo recipe is rather spare in its detail. This is where family upbringing and advice come in.
One major item of note: in cooking paella, heat transfer is a serious problem. The typical paella pan is shallow and open, whereas most rice is cooked in a deep, covered container. Why the difference? Well, it was explained to me that the various components of the paella offer their juices and flavors to the rice, and that those flavors would become unidentifiable if mixed. The problem, though, is that rice is not steamed very well in an open container, nor are the ingredients on top cooked very well.
The secret, which usually isn’t written down, is to pre-cook any ingredients which require thorough cooking before they are added. There will be some further cooking of everything as the dish progresses, so delicate items such as clams, mussels, squid, and shrimp should be added as the rice cooks, and the chorizo and vegetables should be sliced thin so as to cook or render more rapidly. Bulky items such as chicken and whole fish should be cooked (pan fried is good) or they’ll NEVER be done, or if they are, only they will be and everything else will be overcooked. As each pre-cooked item is prepared, keep it and its juices in a separate container. Add by placing each item randomly about the pan, then go back and pour a little of the juice onto each. This localizes the flavors just a bit, producing pockets of flavor, and in my opinion increases the enjoyment of eating. (Those who mound food will miss out, but you and I, knowing better than to mix everything…)
To begin, though, let’s be practical and make a trial run or two. For own edification (and to avoid embarrassment if you wait until guests have arrived and your dish doesn’t turn out okay), make a test run in your paella pan, using only rice and water. Put the pan on the biggest, meanest, highest heat burner you have, add the rice and water, and cook this trial batch at high heat to both clean the pan and to check heat input. Gas stoves, propane burners, even turkey fryer burners (throttled) are appropriate. Electric stoves sometimes don’t deliver enough heat.
Next, when you are satisfied that you can successfully input enough heat, make a test run to make sure you have the heat input right, meaning both sufficient and evenly distributed. Sauté the onions, sauté the rice, then add boiling water, then the rice. Adjust heat to “bubbling uniformly,” and hold for 20 minutes. Spanish Arborio rice is typically used. Oriental or Basmati types are not appropriate. Some people find that tenting the pan with foil helps. If it works, great, but be aware that having to do this means you don’t have enough heat flux.
There as many variations on paella as there are Spaniards, times ten. Consider using other ingredients, such as artichoke hearts and Spanish olives. …anything typically Spanish or Mediterranean will do. Make a list of ingredients, then rearrange the ingredients in order of how long it takes to cook. Include rice in the list. Anything that takes longer than rice, such as chicken or whole fish, needs to be cooked first. Anything that takes a shorter time should be added as the rice cooking starts, such as seafood. Rice is the key ingredient. When the rice is done, the dish is done.
Now assemble the ingredients in cooking order. Frozen ingredients should be thawed carefully. Frozen sea creature mixtures are best thawed in running cold water with ice, then placed in ice water or refrigerated until needed.
When ready to start, everything on the list above rice should be cooked sufficiently that it will steam or remain warm when the rice is cooked. Everything below rice should be added as the paella pan begins to heat, or part way through the cooking.
Original Translation Frugal Gourmet
1 Kg. Mejillone frescos 2 lbs. fresh mussels 1 lb mussels
1/2 Kg. Gambas frescas 1 lb. fresh shrimp ½ lb. Shrimp
1/2 Kg. calamares cortados en ruedas 1 lb. squid cut in circles
1 Kg de almejas frescas 2 lb. fresh clams 1 lb. clams
1-2 Kg. de Pescado fresco (con cabeza) 2 – 4 lb. fresh fish (with heads)
2 lbs. Chicken thighs
½ lb. Pork (cut in cubes)
1 cup cubed ham
100 g chorizo en rodajas 4 oz sliced chorizo ½ cup sliced chorizo
trozo de pepino one cucumber (cut into sticks)
2 Cebollas bien picada 2 onions chopped well 2 yellow onions
3 Tomates pelados 3 peeled tomatoes
1/2 Pimiento ½ red bell pepper, cut up 1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 cup peas
1 Cabeza de Ajo lavada (y un majado de 4 dientes pelados) 1 head of garlic (plus 4 cloves peeled and crushed) 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
Laurel Bay leaf
Colorante coloring 1 tsp paprika
2 Tbsp annatto oil
Aceite de Oliva olive oil
Azafran saffron 1/8 tsp crushed saffron
Sal salt salt
1 cup dry white wine
Avecrén de Pescado 2 Fish bouillon cubes
(see below) 3 cups chicken stock
Arroz rice 2 cups rice
For the broth, for the home-style recipe, do as follows. (To be honest, ignore Smith’s advice and use this method too, using either chicken broth or preparing the seafood broth. It seems a bit counter-intuitive, but it works well.)
En un caldero poner agua limpia (contar las tazas de agua que se ponen) a hervir. Añadir 1 cebolla partida, un tomate, trozo de pepino, cabezas de Pezcado. Añadir sal y 2 pastillas de Avecrén Pescado y un majado de ajo.
In a soup pot, put clean water (count the cups of water that you add) and heat. Add one chopped onion, one tomato, a cucumber, the fish heads. Add salt and two tablets of fish broth and the crushed garlic.
Fritura y Cocinado:
En la Paellera se pone un poco de aceite que cubra todo el fondo. Se frien los calamares hasta que esten dorados. Se retiran a un plato. En el mismo aceite se añade la cebolla picada, los tomates picados, el pimiento troceado y el ajo. Se deja a fuego medio hasta que esta todo bien frito. Se incorporan los calamares a la fritura. Se le añade el Caldo colado (contar las tazas de caldo gue se añaden, 2 tazas de Caldo por 1 taza de arroz). No usar todo el caldo. Cuando el caldo hierva se le añade el azafran, un poco de sal, 1 pastillas de Avecrén Pescado, el arroz (mitad de tazas de arroz gue de caldo). Y finalmente poner los mariscos y trozos de pescado.
Frying and Cooking
In a paella pan, put olive oil to cover the bottom. Fry the calamari until golden. Remove to a plate. In the same oil, add the chopped onion, chopped tomato, bell pepper pieces, and the garlic. Place over a medium flame until all is medium fried. Add the calamari back into the fried mixture. Add the strained broth (count the cups added, two cups of broth per one cup of rice). Don’t use all the broth. When the broth boils, add the saffron, a little salt, one cube of fish bouillon, the rice (half as much rice as broth). And finally put the seafood and fish.
(The Frug uses Uncle Ben’s rice and cooks the dish covered. Bleah.)
TIP: Añadir mas caldo que lo que pide la formula 2/1. Poner una taza de caldo adicional por cada 2 de arroz. (Ex: 3 tazas de arroz = 6 tazas +1.5 tazas de caldo)
Tip: Add more broth than you should for the formula 2:1. Put an additional cup of broth for each 2 cups of rice. (Example: 3 cups of rice = 6 cups + 1.5 cups of broth.)
Both recipes come out well, but I think the family recipe is better. The list of ingredients, as well as the amounts, is limited only by your imagination. Preparing paella is time consuming, but a real dinnertime show for guests. Enjoy.
Turning once again to the Spanish version of Wikipedia for our introduction: http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chorizo
Chorizo en México
El chorizo es un elemento importante en la cocina mexicana, aunque la longaniza llega a ser más conocida en ciertas partes del país debido a su facilidad de producción pero sin quitarle el lugar al chorizo, pues llega a ser incluido en cualquiera de las comidas diarias. En su mayoría están elaborados con las entrañas de cerdo, pero también los hay de res, de pollo y de pavo. Casi siempre la tortilla está presente cuando el chorizo es consumido, por lo general en tacos a los que se les agrega cebolla frita, cilantro, papa y jugo de limón.
La ciudad de Toluca se ha afamado por la elaboración y por las variedades que ofrece de este embutido. Una de las especialidades en Toluca y singular en la gastronomía de México, es el chorizo “verde nombrado por el colorante que ciertas plantas locales le dan. A ese tipo de chorizos se les suele agregar cacahuates y otros condimentos prehispánicos. De acuerdo con la variante de la receta, estos pueden ser picantes o no, este es uno de los más sabrosos y delicados.
Por otra parte, el “chorizo norteño” que se fabrica en los estados de la frontera norte suelen ser más pungentes y también más picantes que los del centro o del sur. Para este tipo de chorizo se utilizan variedades de chile como el chilpitin, cortez o de árbol, así como el vinagre blanco o el de manzana. Tanto en los estados de Guerrero como en el de Yucatán, al chorizo se le añade más color con achiote y más sabor con zumo o jugo de naranja o con vinagres derivados de plantas locales.
Por todo el país hay una variedad de presentaciones del chorizo rojo, aunque en ocasiones su color sea más cercano al tono naranja. En el centro del país, el término chorizo, informalmente tiende a intercambiarse con el término longaniza, aunque la longaniza sea considerada más frecuentemente como un embutido más largo, mientras que el chorizo es un embutido que en su apariencia comercial es más segmentado; la longaniza se consume casi exclusivamente en el centro del país, mientras que en los demás estados se consume el chorizo.
Chorizo in Mexico
The chorizo is an important element in Mexican cooking, but the longaniza sausage is more widely known in some parts of the country where, due to its ease of production, rather than replace chorizo, it has become included in many daily meals. Most are made with pork entrails, but there are also beef, chicken and turkey. Almost always the tortilla is present when the sausage is eaten, usually in tacos to which are added fried onions, cilantro, potatoes and lime juice.
Toluca is famous for developing and offering varieties of this sausage. One of the specialties in Toluca and unique in the cuisine of Mexico is the “green” sausage, named for the coloring given by certain local plants. To that kind of sausages are often add peanuts and other prehispanic condiments. According to recipe variants, they can be spicy or not. This is one of the most delicious and delicate.
In contrast, the “northern sausage” that is manufactured in the northern border states are generally more pungent and spicier than the center or south. For this type of chorizo, chile varieties are used such as the chilpitin, Cortez or chile del arbol, along with white or cider vinegar. Both in the states of Guerrero and in the Yucatan, the chorizo is given more color with achiote and more flavor with local orange juice or vinegar derived from local plants.
Across the country there are a variety of recipe types of red chorizo, but sometimes the color is closer to orange. In the center of the country, the term chorizo tends to be interchangeable with the term longaniza but the longaniza is most often considered as a longer sausage, while the chorizo is a sausage that is sold in more segmented form. The longaniza is used almost exclusively in the center of the country, while in other states chorizo is eaten.
The city of Toluca, west of Mexico City, has specialized in the manufacture of chorizo. However, most Mexican chorizo is still made by small family-owned businesses. Here is a recipe purported to be representative of Toluca style. Note the use of cinnamon and clove in the mixture, This spicing is typical of cuisine from the interior of Mexico. Despite its appeal, we’ll not discuss green chorizo here, other than to mention that the English version of Wikipedia says Toluca is the center of its production, and that it includes tomatillo and cilantro in place of the red colorants such as other chiles or paprika. If you are interested, Rick Bayliss lists a recipe which maybe we’ll try in a future posting. Bayliss’ recipe features Serrano peppers and cilantro, as well as spinach powder.
1/2 Kg pulpa de puerco Lean ground pork
50 gr chile ancho. Ancho chile (dried
175 gr lardo. Pork fat
15 gr chile pasilla. Pasilla chile
1/2 cebolla chica. Small onion
1/2 taza (cup) vinagre. Vinegar
1 diente (clove) ajo. Garlic
1 pizca (pinch) comino Ground cumin
1 pizca (pinch) olor Clove
1 gr pimienta . pepper
1 gr canela. Cinnamon
1 gr semillas de cilantro. Cilantro
1 gr orégano. Oregano
3 gr pimentón. Paprika
tripas cerdo mediano. Medium hog casings
Picar finamente el lardo y la carne. Tostar, desvenar y moler el chile con todos los ingredientes, vinagre y sal. Luego, mezclarlo bien con la carne y el lardo picados.
Con esa mezcla rellenar las tripas bien lavadas, y amarrarlas aproximadamente a 10 cms. una de otra.
Finely grind the pork fat and meat. Roast the chiles, remove stems and seeds, grind, and mix with all the seasonings, vinegar and salt. Then mix well with meat and fat.
With this mixture fill the washed casings, and tie into about 10 cm lengths.
Onward to Yucatan:
We now go further south, where the spicing changes gradually from the Mexican reliance on chiles but the flavor of Spain is still imitated. In Yucatan and in Central America, some of the dried peppers used farther north are replaced with a much-favored local spice called annatto (achiote in Spanish). The ground spice has a subtle flavor described as… well, no one seems to be able to describe its flavor. Surprisingly, annatto is used to give cheddar cheese its characteristic yellow-red color. That color is probably one of the reasons why it’s used here, but I still suspect that there’s a taste. I just can’t quite put my finger (or tongue) on it.
The following recipe was developed from a number of Spanish-language recipes, including:
My own (as yet unpublished) recipe is as follows. If achiote paste is not available in your local market, please use the recipe which follows. To be honest, there were few recipes available on line or on my bookshelf. Here’s my best shot.
Chorizo Estilo Yucatecano:
2 lbs. (or 1 kilo) pork butt (20% fat)
2.5 gm non-iodized salt (dissolve in the juice+vinegar)
2.5 gm cure #1 (dissolve in the juice+vinegar)
1.0 gm pepper (black)
20 gm garlic (6 medium cloves – fresh)
9.0 gm chile- ancho (remove stems & seeds, grind)
4.4 gm chile-pasillo (remove stems & seeds, grind)
10.0 chile- chipotle (remove stems & seeds, grind)
25 gm Recado de achiote (annatto paste)
40 gm Seville (bitter) orange juice
30 gm Cider vinegar
100 ml vinegar
All chiles listed are dried chiles. If you can’t find dried chipotle peppers, canned can be used if washed thoroughly, then dried off with a paper towel. They taste slightly different because of the pickling process. Either way, they taste good. …smoky. Vary the chiles as you wish. Color and flavor will change slightly (part of the fun).
The achiote paste is commonly available in 100 gram packages in the Hispanic sections of grocery stores. …or use the recipe below. The paste sometimes comes in cubes, like bouillon does. This recipe is scaled to use a single 25 gram (approximately) cube.
For a reasonable approximation of Seville orange juice, mix 30 grams of orange juice with 10 grams of lime juice. Use a good quality Texas or California orange juice and Mexican (Key) limes. Florida oranges, in my opinion, are too sweet and watery, and don’t quite have enough of the citrus flavor required here.
To give a feel for what the local cooking in Yucatan is like, I decided to include a recipe for the well-known baked pork dish, Cochinita Pibil. We first had this dish at the popular Houston restaurant, Merida, back in the ‘70s. The dish’s popularity has grown widely, fostered by such cooking shows as Rick Bayless’ “Mexico, One Dish at a Time.” There are quite a few variations, but all are based on annatto. Have a look at some of the more readable ones:
…from E. QUIN – De Mi Colección de Recetas
http://www.dianaskitchen.com/page/pork/pibil.htm “The Cuisines of Mexico” by Diana Kennedy
…and then try mine, which is an average of many of the above. The definitive recipe for cochinita pibil does not exist. This effort started as a search for THE recipe, and ended with a simple, reasonable version. …hopefully. I like it, anyway. What else can I say?
My search encompassed internet and cookbook recipes in Spanish as well as English. It ended with a recipe for achiote paste that beats the commercial version because there’s no MSG, masa filler, or preservatives. Interestingly, it’s still an easy recipe.
Here’s some background, then the generic recipe for achiote paste, followed by the generic recipe for cochinita pibil and marinated onions, plus a serving suggestion. Enjoy. I am indebted to the website, http://foodhoe.blogspot.com for the paraphrased background information. They, in turn, credit Rick Bayless for it. Whatever you think of him. Bayless does a wonderful job of awakening the English-speaking world to Mexican dishes and tastes.
Traditional dishes are that way- – no set recipe. Through the ages, mothers and grandmothers have interpreted traditional recipes according to food availability and their families’ own tastes. Here’s my effort. Viva tradición!
Achiote Paste Background
Achiote paste consists of ground annatto seeds mixed with spices, salt, garlic, and lime or Seville orange juice to form a paste. It originates in the Yucatan region of Mexico. The red color comes from annatto seeds, which have been in use since well before Colombian times, not only in food but also as a dye for fabrics and body paint. Commercial packages are available and are widely used in Latin America. However, like many processed foods, they contain non-traditional additives such as MSG, filler, and food coloring. Thus, we need a recipe for achiote paste.
The word Cochinita refers to baby pig, and the Mayan word pibil means buried oven. This dish typically would be a pig, marinated in achiote seasoning, wrapped in banana leaves and pit-cooked, served in yellow corn tortillas with pickled red onions and salsa. It is, of course, possible to cook this dish in a modern oven. The pit-roasted flavor is missing, but the result is still good.
Achiote Paste (Recado Rojo) Recipe
This recipe is derived from eight recipes, some in Spanish and others in English. Typical values are listed, as well as the range, so you can see how forgiving the recipe is (and how widely its practice varies). A number of other recipes that called for obviously non-authentic ingredients such as lemons or tequila were tossed out as suspect.
The recipe has, of course, bounced back and forth between Yucatan and Spain. The main variation is substituting Seville orange juice (or a mix of three quarters orange juice to one quarter lime juice) for straight lime juice. For lime juice, the small Mexican limes are recommended, rather than the larger ones grown in Florida which are called Persian limes. …your choice.
recommended Range Ingredient
2 Tbsp (basis) Annatto seeds (buy pre-ground powder if available)
5 cloves 4 – 24 Garlic, fresh, minced
1-1/2 tsp 0 – 1-1/2 Coriander seeds, ground
1 tsp 0 – 1 Salt
1 tsp ½ – 1 Cumin seeds, ground
1 tsp ¾ – 1-1/2 Black Peppercorns, ground
4 0 – 6 Allspice berries (grind)
2 0 – 3 Cloves (grind)
1 tsp 0 – 2 Oregano
Up to 4 Tbsp varies Seville Orange Juice (or ¾ orange, ¼ lime) (Optional: lime only)
If you have to, crush the annatto seeds in a mortar and pestle, or in a spice grinder. Do this once and you’ll always buy achiote molido (ground annatto) in the store. Grind the other spices. Crush the garlic into a paste. Mix all. Add just enough lime or Seville orange juice to form a paste. As you can see from the table, amounts aren’t critical.
Cochinita Pibil Recipe
Once the achiote paste recipe is nailed down, the pork portion easily falls into place. All of the recipes that I examined had essentially the same amount of paste. There were minor variants in other ingredients, as listed below.
(Achiote as paste, rough conversion estimates: 2 tablespoons = 30 ml = 50 gm)
Ingredient Recommended Range
Pork, kg (lbs) (1 kg) – 2-¼ lbs (basis)
Achiote mix (gm)(Tbsp) (100 gm) – 4T All the same
Black pepper (tsp) ½ 0 – 1
Oregano (tsp) ½ 0 – 1
Cinnamon (tsp) ¼ 0 – ¼
Lime Juice (cups) ½ [alternate 1-½] …same
Orange Juice (cups) 1 [alternate 0] …same
The recipe is simple, and intentionally vague. Place everything but the pork in a sealable bag, then squish it to mix. Place the pork roast in the bag, seal, and squish until the pork is well-coated with marinade. Crack the seal, squeeze out the air, and reseal. Leave the bag in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
To cook, dump the contents of the bag into a dutch oven, crock pot, or other oven-proof pot. Place a sheet of foil over the top, then the lid, to seal the pot. Place in a pre-heated 300 degree oven for 4 hours, until the pork is falling-apart tender. This dish can also be cooked in a slow cooker (crock pot, to us ex-hippies). At the end of the cooking time, when the meat is very tender, pour off the juices into a pot and reduce rapidly to ½ or 1/3 the volume, then add back.
Marinated Onions Recipe
This little gem is so simple that no exploration was necessary. Cut one red onion in half, then thinly slice it (don’t chop). In a small bowl, sprinkle the onion with 1/2 teaspoon salt to draw moisture. After half an hour, give ‘em a quick rinse to wash off the salt and excess water. This moderates the onion’s pungency, too. Pat dry. Add 1/4 cup lime juice or vinegar, toss, cover, and set aside to marinate while the meat is cooking, stirring from time to time. If you wish, you can add a pinch of ground cumin and a pinch of ground black pepper.
Heat yellow corn tortillas. (White corn tortillas are not authentic, and in my opinion have little or no flavor. Flour tortillas have no place in the traditional diet, and should not be used.) Assemble as tacos, making them as you go. Place a tortilla on a plate, add some shredded meat, add some marinated red onion, add salsa to your preference, put in some chopped fresh cilantro, and fold. This dish is traditionally served with a side of black beans.
CHORIZO – Salvadorian
I blundered into this one on the internet. I haven’t tried it, but it looks interesting. Note that annatto is still there, but that emphasis is beginning to shift to other spices, notably thyme and parsley. Note, too, the inclusion of bacon, and the fact that the type of red chile is not specified.
2 ½ lb. Carne de res, molida 2 ½ lbs ground beef
2 lb. Posta de puerco, con bastante gordura, molida 2 lbs pork butt with adequate fat, ground
1 lb. de tocino, molido 1 lb bacon, ground
2 cucharadas de orégano, en polvo 2 tsp dried oregano
2 cucharadas de tomillo, en polvo 2 tsp dried thyme
1 cucharada de Comino en polvo 1 tsp ground cumin
½ cucharada de Pimienta negra, en polvo ½ tsp ground black pepper
½ taza de Vinagre de Manzana o blanco ½ cup vinegar (cider or white)
1 cucharada de Achiote 1 tsp annatto (ground)
1 chile rojo, finamente picado 1 red chile, finely chopped
½ Cebolla mediana, finamente picada ½ medium onion, minced
2 dientes de ajo, finamente picado 2 cloves garlic, minced
½ manojo de Perejil italiano, finamente picado 1 bunch Italian parsley, finely chopped
sal al gusto. Salt to taste
Procedure (literal translation): “Combine all ingredients into a mass in a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 24 hours in the refrigerator. The synthetic gut which is stuffed dough [collagen?], available in any butcher Italian, German or you can order in the Super Markets. For the sausage. If you have a special machine for sausages, you can use a large funnel or cut the “mouth” [off] of a plastic bottle. Make a long sausage, which is then separated into pieces of 2 inches, which tie with strips of dried corn husks (wet). You can save the sausages for two days in the refrigerator. As they have no preservatives, should eat of fresh.” (The two-inch length is popular in Catalan, so perhaps this is done as an imitation.)
This recipe is refreshing in its simplicity, and in the method of tying the casing with moistened strips corn shuck. There is no indication as to what red chili is preferred. Perhaps any reasonable type might be used, although you should be careful with the habañero chile from adjacent Caribbean cultures. The habañero contributes “heat,” but not much color, so there are few references to its use in making chorizo. In fact, most Cuban coking specifies Spanish chorizo. There is wonderful Cuban dishes featuring chorizo, but they appear to use Spanish chorizo. I speculate that this is most likely because there is no local source of intensely red colored ingredients.
CHORIZO – Dominican Republic, Colombia & Venezuela
Over and over, the dish “Arepas con Chorizo” surfaced as I was looking for Colombian chorizo recipes. Arepas are corn meal cakes. One Venezuelan recipe calls for sautéing chopped onions, garlic, and crumbled chorizo, spreading the mixture plus black beans and white cheese onto the cornmeal cakes. http://mykitchenmoovement.squarespace.com/recipes/2010/3/31/an-ode-to-linoleum-and-the-best-venezuelan-sandwich-ever.html
Another recipe from Dominica by Rosario M. Rodríguez Perdomo http://rosiperdomo.blogspot.com/2010/09/arepas-de-chorizo.html calls for the following:
For the arepas:
2 y 1/2 tazas (cups) agua, water
1/2 cucharadita (tsp) sal salt
2 tazas (cups) harina de maíz precocida, Masa harina (finely ground corn meal) (pre-cooked)
aceite para freír. Oil for frying
As for the stuffing:
2 tomates cortados en cubitos (sin piel , ni semillas) Chopped tomatoes (skinned, seeds removed)
1 cebolla finamente picada Onion, minced
1 trozo (“piece,” link) chorizo cortado en cuadritos pequeños Chorizo cut into small pieces
4 huevos eggs
2 cucharadas (Tbsp) aceite de oliva,
un toque (pinch) colorante alimentario en polvo (Carmencita) Food coloring
x sal y pimienta al gusto. Salt and pepper to taste
As you will see in the recipe below, chorizo from the Caribbean and northern South America doesn’t use the chiles or annatto that chorizo makers farther north use, nor does it us the aji peppers from farther south.
Colombian Chorizo Recipe
From http://recetas-fercho.blogspot.com/2007/11/chorizos-antioqueos.html comes this recipe for Colombian “chorizos antioqueños,” antique or tradition style chorizo. You’ll very likely want to scale this one down!
Para 20 kilos de embutido (20 kg = about 44 lbs of sausage)
14 kilos (30 lbs 14 oz) carne pulpa de res ode cerdo. Ground Beef or Pork
3 kilos (6 lbs 10 oz) tocino Pork fat
1 cucharada y media (1-1/2 Tbsp) Ajo in polvo Ground garlic powder
1 cucharada y media (1-1/2 Tbsp) Comino en polvo Ground cumin
1 libra y media (1-1/2 lbs) cebolla de rama. Green onion
1 manojo (bunch) cilantro. Cilantro
1 cucharada y media (1-1/2 Tbsp) orégano. Oregano
1 y medio litros (1-1/2 liters) agua. Water
15 cucharadas (Tbsp) sal. salt
The usual stuffing and refrigerating process should be used. Note the lack of red coloring. Note even more the lack of peppers on any kind!
CHORIZO – Peru, Uruguay, etc.
My wife and I visited several cities in Peru, back in the early nineties. This was just after the Sendero Luminoso, Shining Path, guerillas were being controlled again by the Fujimori government. The food was great, the people were delightful, the scenery and artifacts were spectacular. I gave my first speech in Spanish, there in the city of Arequipa. My wife took photographs. Later, when I saw the photos, I noticed why the low angle- – there were Uzi-armed Federal Police on the roofs surrounding the plaza.
Proud of my budding linguistic abilities, I sent copies of the photos to my brothers. One wrote back, asking, “Are your speeches so bad that they have to hold machine guns on the crowd to make them stay?”
I haven’t given a speech in public since. As for my writing, you’ll have to be the judge. But my cooking- – definitely making progress. In Peru, we sampled local cuisine. I don’t recall the use of chorizo to much extent, although I’m sure that it was there. However, I might theorize that there was not as strong a Spanish influence in the food in Peru, because the Spanish conquerors were only males and they all intermarried with the Incas. The Incas far outnumbered them and their descendants, and still do today. I’ll continue to search. An excellent cookbook by Elizabeth Lambert Ortiz, titled “The Book of Latin American Cooking” will help. But then, it doesn’t have a recipe for cuy (guinea pig), a Peruvian national dish. …gotta show you a cuy recipe. (It, of course, tastes like chicken.)
CHORIZO – Uruguay
One of many interesting items concerning Uruguay is that is so isolated. No! Wait! That’s Paraguay. We geographically-impaired foreigners mix the two up, frequently. According again to Wikipedia, Uruguay is a country in the southeastern part of South America, home to 3.3 million people, of whom 1.8 million live in the capital Montevideo and surroundings. An estimated 88% of the population are of European descent.
Asado is the national dish, according to Wikipedia again, barbecued beef. “The meat for an asado is not marinated, the only preparation being the application of salt before and/or during the cooking period. Also, the heat and distance from the coals are controlled to provide a slow cooking; it usually takes around two hours to cook asado. Further, grease from the meat is not encouraged to fall on the coals and create smoke which would adversely flavor the meat.”
Consequently, the settlers don’t quite “fit the mold.” Again from Wikipedia, “most Uruguayans of European ancestry are descendants of 19th and 20th century immigrants from Spain and Italy (about one-quarter of the population is of Italian origin) … Few direct descendants of Uruguay’s indigenous peoples remain…” The following recipe is pretty casual. That may reflect an Italian influence. Who knows.
Uruguay – Haciendo Chorizos
Carne molida de vaca 60% 60% ground beef
Carne molida de cerdo 40% 40% ground pork
Adobo Adobo seasoning (see below)
Pimienta Black pepper
Tripa p/embutido Hog casing for sausage
Preparation is similarly vague, “Prepare it to your liking, so you can find the flavor that you like most. Then write it down….” Stuff as usual.
Owing to the lack of peppers other than black pepper (and a little paprika in the adobo), this might more properly be called longaniza.
Adobo, “seasoning,” is a generic term referring to a mixture of paprika, oregano, salt, and garlic in dry form, often with vinegar added. Proportions vary widely. Popular brand Goya is widely available in the United States, as are several other brands. It is simple to make.
CHORIZO – Chilean
Differences in peppers (aji versus Mexican offerings).
In contrast with Peru, the local Indios were never conquered or assimilated, so that even today, European societal influences are strong. Most immigrants to Chile came much later, and brought their families, possessions, and customs with them. Even today, Santiago is very European in character, and much of the country shows not only Spanish but German and other European nationalities’ influences.
Show evidence in the local chorizo recipe, local meat-related dish unique to Chile if possible, otherwise a congria recipe.
Our friends at Wikipedia remind us that: “The name of the plant bears no relation to Chile, the country, which is named after the Quechua chin (“cold”), tchili (“snow”), or chilli (“where the land ends”). Chile, Panama, Peru and Puerto Rico are some of the Spanish-speaking countries where chilis are known as ají, a word of Taíno origin.”
One source (http://www.bedri.es/Comer_y_beber/Conservas_caseras/Alimentos_procesados/Chorizo.htm ) says that “In Chile, chorizo is popularly called longaniza, although it is a variant of that type. The city of Chillán is known for the production of sausage and chorizo, due to heavy immigration from Spain during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.”
I did find one fermented version of chorizo, done in the Spanish style but with local pepper (called aji). I brought it home with me, sealed in its vacuum-packed commercial packaging, declared as a “commercially packaged food product” under the line where meat products were specified. The Department of Agriculture officials never even looked at it. I am told that commercially-produced food items are not a problem if they meet USDA sanitary specifications. …but good luck. Always declare them. That way, you’ll never get fined.
CHORIZO – Argentina
No idea. Find a recipe. Talk about the influence of beef exceeding that of pork.
In Argentina (see http://www.bedri.es/Comer_y_beber/Conservas_caseras/Alimentos_procesados/Chorizo.htm ), some of the typical chorizo sausages are the “chorizo parrillero” (“grilled sausage,” either a fresh sausage, or a dried, smoked, then roasted slowly sausage) and the “chorizo bombón” which is a not very widely available, often more spicy, grilled chorizo.
A sausage sandwich called “choripán,” invented in Argentina, became popular in Paraguay and Uruguay, and later in Bolivia, Chile, and Peru. It consists of chorizo (the “chori” part) sandwiched between two halves of French bread (pan is Spanish for bread)or other round white bread bun. Many seasonings are popular, chimichurri being the most popular in Argentina. Mushrooms, pickles, pepper, mayonnaise, picante salsa, etc. are often added. The sausage is often served “butterflied,” that is, cut in a longitudinal manner without completely separating the two sides.
According to Wikipedia again, chimichurri is made from finely chopped parsley, minced garlic, olive oil, oregano, and white or red vinegar. Additional flavorings such as cilantro, paprika, cumin, thyme, lemon, and bay leaf may be included. In its red version, tomato and red bell pepper may also be added.
In Argentina there are varieties of sausages like those of Spain, among these the most common are the “chorizo colorado” and “chorizo candelario.”
Here are two recipes from http://www.taringa.net/posts/recetas-y-cocina/2729884/Chorizo-Criollo-y-de-Cerdo-Casero-receta-y-preparacion.html which claim to be old, traditional recipes. The “criollo” style generally means that, rather than being fermented or dried, they are “fresh” sausages which must be cooked before eating. Although both recipes are purported to be traditional, the same exact recipes are all over the internet, leading me to suspect that they’re both good but not quite historically accurate. …interesting, though. Let’s look at them, then try a different, more recent one below them.
Note the use of aji peppers. The first, chorizo criollo y de cerdo (Creole chorizo of pork), as well as the second (Creole beef & pork chorizo) are said to have first been written down by Robert Joseph Herrlein, a descendant of the Volga Germans who settled in Argentina two centuries ago. Translating these old recipes is a delightful lesson in how writing formality has changed, not necessarily for the better.
Ingredientes para 10 kilos de chorizos.
8 kilos carne de cerdo. Pork meat
2 kilos tocino de cerdo. Pork fat
220 gr sal. Salt
50 gr ají molido. Ground aji pepper
20 gr pimienta negra molida. Ground black pepper
10 gr nuez moscada molida. Ground nutmeg
30 gr orégano (opcional). Oregano (optional)
Una cabeza chica (small head) ajo Garlic
1 vaso (cup) vino blanco o tinto. White or red wine
Semillas (seeds) hinojo salvaje (Importantísimo para el sabor y el aroma) Wild fennel (most important for flavor and aroma)
15/17 metros tripa salada para embutir. Salted hog casing for stuffing
5 gr nitrato de sodio. Sodium nitrate
NOTE that this is an old recipe, and the sodium nitrate cure must be carefully measured to modern standards.
Con una máquina tritura carne y disco grueso, pique la carne hecha trozos, luego el tocino. Vierta todo en un fuentón y agregue todos los condimentos. Mezcle y amase. Coarsely grind the meat and fat. Pour into a bowl. Add all the seasonings. Mix and knead.
Caliente el vino y agréguele los dientes de ajo bien picados y sin hervir cocine tres minutos. Cuele, deseche el líquido e incorpórelos a la preparación volviendo a amasar. Conserve en la heladera no tan fría hasta el día siguiente. (*) Heat the wine, add the minced garlic and cook three minutes without boiling. Strain, discard the liquid, and incorporate them (garlic cloves) into the preparation. Knead again. Store in the refrigerator overnight. (Written before the modern refrigerator was invented.) (*)
La preparación de la tripa se hace desalándola con abundante agua corriente, luego se sumerge en agua con el nitrito disuelto para evitar una indeseada putrefacción. Previo el rellenado cuélguela para que se escurra bien. The intestine is de-salted with running water, then dipped in water with nitrite dissolved in it to prevent unwanted putrefaction. Before filling, hang to drain well. (Written before salted casing was widely available.)
El rellenado puede hacerlo con un simple embudo, bastante grande, juntando la tripa en el pico del mismo, haciendo que se desfile durante el llenado que no debe ser muy apretado. The filling can be done with a simple funnel, large enough, gathering the gut at the peak of it. In allowing it to extend during filling, it should not be too tight.
La distancia de la atadura de cada chorizo es a gusto del consumidor, generalmente de 13 a 15 centímetros para que no se diga que se está sirviendo una miseria… Hágalos descansar un día al gancho y en la heladera. The distance of the binding of each sausage is a taste of the consumer, usually from 13 to 15 centimeters so it does not say who is serving a pittance (i.e. don’t let the server look stingy!) … Allow them to rest a day on hooks in the refrigerator.
Es preferible asarlos a la parrilla con brasas de madera dura, generalmente durante 15 minutos de cada lado, sin pincharlos, para que se cocinen con sus propio jugo. It is preferable to grill these over hardwood coals, usually for 15 minutes on each side, not pierced, to cook their own juice.
The asterisk is as follows:
(*) Una buena alternativa es la del señor Raúl Marozzi que pone el ajo triturado en el vino y luego lo cuela, tira el ajo y pone el vino con sabor a ajo en la preparación. porque me dice que el ajo se oxida y no conviene ponerlo en la mezcla. (*) A good alternative is to put crushed garlic in the wine and then strain it out, throw it away, and put the wine flavored with garlic into the mix (because garlic is oxidized and should not be put into the mixture).
The transcriber notes that he personally prefers to cut the pork fat into small pieces with a knife so it more resembles the large fat pieces in salami.
Our next recipe, another tradional old one from the same author, combines beef and pork. This would be expected in beef-happy Argentina.
Chorizo Criollo Mezcla
Ingredientes para 10 kilos de chorizos.
4 kilos carne de cerdo. Pork meat
2 kilos tocino de cerdo. Pork fat
4 kilos carne de vaca. Beef
220 gr sal. Salt
50 gr ají molido. Ground aji pepper
20 gr pimienta negra molida. Ground black pepper
10 gr nuez moscada molida. Ground nutmeg
Una cabeza chica ajo garlic
1 vaso (cup) vino blanco o tinto. White or red wine
Semillas (seeds hinojo salvaje. Se puede remplazar con kummel. Wild fennel (substitute caraway)
15/17 metros tripa salada para embutir. Salted hog casing for stuffing
5 gr nitrato de sodio. Sodium nitrate
NOTE that this is an old recipe, and the sodium nitrate cure must be carefully measured to modern standards.
Use the same instructions as the recipe immediately above.
The author notes the following:
Estos chorizos son preferidos aca en Argentina a los de puro cerdo para ser secados durante al menos 40 días, en un lugar seco, fresco y poco ventilado. En el día 41 pueden recibir el primer corte, oblicuamente, para comprobar la consistencia, el aroma, y el sabor. These (pork/beef) sausages are preferred in Argentina to pure pork. They should be cured for at least 40 days in a dry, cool and poorly ventilated place. On day 41, they can receive the first cut, obliquely, to check the consistency, aroma, and flavor.
Receta de Chorizos parrilleros (Grilled chorizo recipe)
Remember, from above, that most chorizos in Argentina are grilled? Well, here’s one from http://www.recetasgratis.net/Receta-de-Chorizos-parrilleros-elaboracion–receta-12194.html which promises to be a bit more representative of popular culture.
2 kg. Carne de cerdo sin grasa ni pellejos.
Pork meat without fat or skin
2 kg. carne de vaca sin grasa ni pellejos. Beef meat without fat or skin
1 kg. grasa de cerdo (tocino y papada son las mejores). Pork fat (belly and jowls are best
100 gr sal. salt
4 cucharadas colmadas (heaping Tbsp) oregano. oregano
2 cucharadas colmadas (heaping Tbsp) aji molido. Ground aji chile
1 cucharada colmada (heaping Tbsp) tomillo. thyme
1/2 cucharada al ras (level Tbsp) Pimienta negra.
Ground black pepper
1/2 cucharada al ras (level Tbsp) nuez moscada. Ground nutmeg
1 cucharada al ras (level Tbsp) Ajo en polvo, o fresco pero molido.
Garlic, powdered or fresh ground
1 vaso (cup) vino tinto. Red wine
Hilo para atar. Thread to tie
Tripa de cerdo para embutir.
Hog casing for stuffing
Habitualmente se la consigue seca y salada, de modo que antes de ser utilizada se debe lavar e hidratar dejandola un rato en Agua con un poco de vinagre. Tambien hay que dilatarla, para lo cual se coloca un extremo en el pico de una canilla y se hace circular agua fria por su interior como si fuera una manguera. Usually the casing gets dry and salty, so before use, wash and leave it for a while in water with some vinegar. Also you have to dilate- – one end is placed at a faucet and cold water is passed through it like a hose.
Si no fuera posible conseguir tripa, se pueden hacer utilizando papel film, colocando un poco de masa sobre el, enrollando, y tomandolo por los extremos retorcer como si se estuviera envolviendo un caramelo alargado. Llevarlos al frezzer y quitarles el film antes de asarlos. If you can not get casing, use plastic wrap, placing a little saysage mixture on it, winding, and twisting the ends as if wrapping a caramel. Freeze them. Remove the film before grilling.
Si la masa fue bien trabajada durante el amasado, no se desintegraran y mantendran su forma durante la coccion. If the mixture was well worked during kneading, it should not disintegrate and will maintain its shape during cooking.
MODO DE PREPARACIÓN:
Pasar las carnes y la grasa de cerdo por una maquina de picar con disco grueso. Picar una sola vez. Guardar en heladera para que adquiera un buen grado de frio. Pass the meat and fat through a coarse grinder once. Store in refrigerator to keep cold.
Poner en un recipiente la sal y todas las especies y agregarle el vino, mezclar bien y luego verter todo sobre la carne picada. Put salt and all spices into a bowl, add the wine, mix well, then pour over the ground meat.
Mezclar y amasar de manera vigorosa de modo que todo quede bien integrado. La masa debe adquirir una consistencia pastosa. Esto se logra con uno o dos minutos de amasado, y es importante que las carnes esten bien frias. Mix and knead vigorously such that all is well mixed. The mixture should acquire a pasty consistency. This is accomplished with one or two minutes of kneading, and it is important that the meat is kept cold
EMBUTIDO: a la maquina de picar, se le retira la cuchilla y el disco. En su lugar se coloca una boquilla para embutir y en ella se inserta la tripa de cerdo. Se va llenando la maquina con la masa y esta ira rellenando la tripa. Una vez hecho esto, se ataran los chorizos del tamaño que se desee. Remove the grinding mechanism and install a stuffing nozzle in its place. Insert the hog casing. Once stuffed, tie the corizos in desired length.
Pincharlos con una aguja de modo de eliminar aire si lo hubiera. Pierce with a needle to remove air, if needed.
Guardar en heladera si se consumieran en dos o tres dias. En frezzer a -18º C se pueden conservar por seis meses. Keep in refrigerator if consumed in two or three days. Can be stored In freezer at -18 ° C for six months.
Se asan en parrilla sobre brasas, a fuego suave para que no se arrebaten, girandolos para que tengan una coccion pareja. Roast on grill over hot coals, over low heat so they do not … (snatch, rolling them to have a cooking partner.)(??)
Deben quedar cocidos de aspecto dorado pero no secos por dentro. They should cook until they turn golden, but dry inside.
Se debe tener en cuenta que hay sales que salan mas que otras. Por tal motivo, antes de proceder al embutido, es bueno tomar una pequeña cantidad de masa y cocinarla en un sarten o plancha para degustarla y corregir el sabor si fuera necesario. It should be noted that there are salts that salt more than others. For this reason, before the sausage is stuffed, it is advisable to take a small amount of mixture and cook in a skillet or griddle to taste it and correct the taste if necessary.
Summary – Critique
A few recommendations to try, plus a few sources.
Appendix A – Chiles – Scoville Scale
Here is a listing of many peppers, from http://www.produceoasis.com/TipOTDay_folder/Tips_folder/Feb26tip.html
Bell (0 – 100)
Anaheim (100 – 500)
Poblano (500 – 1000)
Passilla (1000 – 1,500)
New Mexico Green Chilis (1,500)
Jalapeno (3,000 ? 6,000)
Yellow Caribe (5,000 – 15,000)
Chile de Arbol,
Asian Hots (15,000 – 30,000)
Hidalgo (15,000 – 30,000)
Serrano (15,000 – 30,000)
Thai (bird’s eye) (30,000 – 50,000)
Tabasco (30,000 – 50,000)
Red Chile (30,000 – 50,000)
Chiltecpin (30,000 – 50,000)
Tabiche (30,000 – 50,000)
Bahamian (30,000 – 50,000)
Kumataka (30,000 – 50,000)
Aji (50,000 – 100,000)
Habanero, Scotch Bonnet (300,000)
Naga Jolokia (1,000,000+)