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Spanish chorizo: why is so special

Different from Mexican chorizo and with strong character.

Spanish chorizo is a traditional and varied food.

Lady Gaga could dedicate Spanish chorizo a song, because there are a million reasons to fall in love with it. Here you are some of then.

What is Spanish chorizo

Spanish chorizo is a dried, cured sausage in a casing. It is made with chopped pork meat, fat, salt, garlic and paprika. The paprika can be mild, smoked or hot. Paprika was first brought from America after the arrival of the Spaniards to the new continent. Until that moment, Spanish chorizo had a black or white color. Thanks to paprika, Spanish chorizo got its characteristic red color. Nowadays Spain uses its national paprika, called pimentón de La Vera.  It is a D.O paprika that gives Spanish chorizo its smokiness and beautiful color.

Differences between Mexican chorizo and Spanish chorizo

Further than they both speak Spanish, there are no much things in common between them. Mexican chorizo is not only made with pork meat. Beef, chicken, turkey or a mix of different types of meat can be used. While meat for Spanish chorizo is chopped, Mexican chorizo prefers minced meat. And if paprika is what gives personality to Spanish chorizo, chile makes the same to Mexican chorizo. Recipes are many, depending on the region. Toluca is probably the most famous place linked to chorizo making in Mexico. Here is where the famous green chorizo, chorizo verde, comes from. This Mexican chorizo is made with plants and herbs that give him this surprising and vibrant color.

Main Spanish chorizo types

According to PORK BREED:

-Chorizo Ibérico de Bellota, is made with 100% pure Iberico pork meat, the best pork breed in Spain. These porks live freely outdoors in La Dehesa, where they have an acorn based diet.

-Chorizo Ibérico, is a very good product from Iberico pork, but is not a 100% Iberico breed. It's around a 50% Iberico breed and acorn is not its main food.

-Chorizo tradicional, is the most popular, made with white pork. Families in rural areas keep on making it generatin after generation with the annual slaughter, a kind of traditional ritual where sausages are prepared for the rest of the year.

According to PREPARATION PROCESS:

-Chorizo curado, is the one you make by hanging the chorizo to dry for several weeks.

-Chorizo fresco, is a fresh one, we could call it cooking chorizo, because you need to cook it before eating. It hasn't been into the curing process. It's great for BBQ.

According to the TYPE OF PAPRIKA:

 

-Chorizo dulce, is made with sweet paprika. Kids love it.

 

-Chorizo picante, is made with hot, spicy paprika.

 

 

According to ITS SHAPE:

-Chorizo vela, called "candle shape" because of its narrow shape, around 30-40 mm.

vela spanish chorizo

-Chorizo en ristra is wider, between 36-50 mm. It means that the whole chorizo is divided into small "choricillos", like the one this guy is holding in his hand. This Goya style picture from XVIII century is called "El choricero" by Ramón Bayeu (By the way, Goya was his brother in law). . It shows us how chorizo has been part of the Spanish culture since always.

-Sarta de chorizo, horseshoe shape, 34-40 mm wide.

sarta shape Spanish chorizo

-Chorizo cular, this is another way to name chorizo Iberico. Nice size, 38 mm.

iberico de bellota spanish chorizo

 

How to make chorizo

The process is quite simple. First, the chopped pork meat is mixed with the salt, garlic and paprika. After that the natural sausage skin is filled with this mix and hanged in a cool, dry place for at least one month. There is where the natural dry process begins. The air will slowly cure the meat. This is the way people have been preparing chorizo in Spain for centuries.

How to cook chorizo

Spanish chorizo can be enjoyed in multiple ways, from the classic chorizo eggs (fried eggs with chorizo) to lentejas/ garbanzos con chorizo, guisantes con chorizo, patatas con chorizo. Some people use chorizo for pasta or paella, too. A good chorizo only needs a good slice of bread and a glass of red wine. A chorizo sandwich is a very popular snack in Spain, too. Find your own way to make the best of Spanish chorizo.

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