ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CHORIZO
Chorizo is probably the most famous and traditional Spanish salami. The ingredients that every Spanish chorizo must contain are ground pepper and garlic. Let us guide you through the different types and help you choose the right one for you.
TYPES OF CHORIZO
Traditional chorizo has two taste variants: spicy and sweet. These differ in the type of ground pepper used. The vast majority of chorizo is preserved by drying. But sometimes you can also meet the so-called chorizo fresco in Spain, which is chorizo that has not been dried. It is especially suitable for grilling and as an ingredient in various dishes. Chorizo is further divided:
ACCORDING TO THE SHAPE
Most sliced chorizos in the supermarket are of this type. It is chorizo that is dried in artificial or natural casings (large intestine). It is 50 - 60 cm long and has a diameter of 4 - 6 cm. The weight of one piece is around 1 kg. Drying takes approximately 3-4 months, depending on the size of the piece.
Chorizo sarta / herradura
The most typical chorizo you can see in Spanish markets. It is chorizo in the shape of a horseshoe weighing 300 - 500 g. The diameter of the slice is 2 - 3 cm. It is dried whole in the small intestine for approx. 20 days, again according to size.
The chorizo vela is straight and thin. The length can be from 20 cm up to 40 cm. The vela is again dried in an artificial or natural thin casing. It has a slice diameter of 2-3 cm and a weight between 200 and 300 g.
Chorizo ristra / pepona
This is another typical chorizo of Spanish markets, which forms a wreath of smaller chorizo. The small intestine is again used for production. The weight of one piece is around 100 g. It is also the form in which you will most often find chorizo fresco, ie chorizo that has not been dried.
ACCORDING TO THE MEAT
Usually when you say "chorizo", it means chorizo serrano. Pork from a common white pig is used for its production.
It is premium chorizo made from black Iberian pig meat. Thanks to the greater ingrowth of Iberian meat, this chorizo is juicier. If the pig was also fed acorns, this is the chorizo ibérico de bellota - probably the best you can find in the chorizo world.
PRODUCTION OF CHORIZO
The basic ingredient is minced pork. The meat must be stripped of sinewy and too fatty parts and then minced. Depending on the type of chorizo, coarser (cular) or finer (sarta, vela) grinding is chosen.
The minced meat is mixed with other ingredients. In Spain, ground pepper (sweet or hot, often used smoked pepper pimentón de Vera) and crushed garlic must never be missing from the chorizo. Salt is also used, approx. 18 g per kilo of meat. The obtained mass is left to rest in a refrigerator for 12 to 36 hours.
Filling the casing
Depending on the chorizo format (cular or sarta), the relevant intestine is filled. It must be ensured that the intestine is completely filled with filling and does not contain air bubbles.
The drying time depends on the weight and type of chorizo. In general, the drying time is 4 days for every 100 g of raw chorizo. Drying can take place in air-conditioned dryers or quite naturally in the fresh air. During drying, the chorizo loses at least 25% of its original weight. There is also chorizo that does not dry out, so-called chorizo fresco. This must be heat treated before consumption.
USE OF CHORIZO
Finished dried chorizo is usually eaten sliced. A plate of chorizo is also a popular tapa in Spain. However, chorizo can be used in a large number of recipes. The most famous dishes using chorizo as an ingredient are Fabada Asturiana, Arroz al Horno, Cocido madrileno or Tortilla de chorizo. Outside of Spain, probably the most famous dish with chorizo is the Argentinian choripan.
CHORIZO IN THE WORLD
Outside of Spain, chorizo is popular mainly in South America. In Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay, it is mainly chorizo criollo - undried fresh chorizo, which is mainly intended for grilling. It is part of the emblematic Argentinian dish choripan - grilled chorizo in a bun. Similar species of chorizo as in Spain can be found in Portugal under the name chouriço.