Sausage in Profile: Chorizo

While the concept of sausage is simple, thousands of variations can be found throughout the world.  Sausages can be fresh, cured, smoked, or cooked. They are made of beef, pork, veal, chicken, and more. And they can include myriad ingredients, from spices and herbs to fruits, vegetables, and cheeses—and even liquids such as beer, whiskey, or blood. Our “Sausage in Profile” series aims to introduce you to different types of sausage—their flavor profiles, histories, and uses—from familiar favorites to unique finds.

 

Chorizo Sausage is a fiery Spanish-style pork sausage that gets its flavor from paprika, garlic, and vinegar and its heat from a liberal complement of chili powder.

Dry-cured and smoked, chorizo is most often used as an ingredient in soups, stews, and casseroles, but is equally at home grilled, broiled, or pan-fried and served in a bun.

A Sausage by any other Name

Across Spain, the exact spelling of chorizo sausage’s name varies by region and it can be classified as sweet (dulce) or spicy (picante). Spanish chorizo is dried and cured, and can be smoked or unsmoked. As such, they are usually ready-to-eat.

Though its robust flavor makes it a wonderful flavor addition to soups, stews, and casseroles—especially chilipaella, and seafood chowder. However, it’s also delicious grilled or pan-fried and served on a bun or cut into slices for appetizers or a charcuterie board.

Across the Atlantic, Mexican chorizo—instead of using expensive, imported smoked paprika—uses native chili peppers. Mexican chorizo is usually sold fresh and, therefore, must be cooked before eating. It can be served in tacos, stirred into queso, or crumbled atop nachos, and it’s also often served for breakfast alongside eggs.

Chorizo is also known as chouriço in Portugal, and is popular in Rhode Island in the U.S., where it’s often an ingredient the stuffed clam dish called Rhode Island stuffies, stuffed quahogs, or (simply) stuffies.

Recipes

Follow our Culinary DIY guide for making queso, and spice it up with some chorizo.

Change up your standard chili with this recipe for Beef and Chorizo Chili.

Or for something a little more adventurous and elegant, our Butterflied Lamb Chops with Chorizo Stuffing would make an excellent dinner party entree.

Beer Pairings

For the in-your-face spice of a sausage like Chorizo, try pairing it with a dark lagers, dunkel, Munich dunkel, or schwarzbier. These deep-hued, malty lagers with roasted notes pair well with foods that can stand up to them. Consider Saranac Black Forest (NY), Magic Hat Howl (VT), Full Sail Ales Sessions Black (OR), Rohrbach Grandmaster Dunk (NY), or Lagunitas Night Time Ale (CA).

 

What is your favorite way to enjoy chorizo? Have you ever had chorizo in chili, tacos, queso, paella, or chowder? Have you ever had “stuffies”?

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