Saturday, March 10, 2012

Chorizo (Mexican sausage)

I absolutely adore chorizo and it took me awhile to come up with this recipe. I've been a chorizo fanatic forever and couldn't find a good prepared one in the stores. I tried numerous recipes online, but nothing really turned me on. So, after talking to some fellows at a local Mexican restaurant and using a mixture of several online versions, I came up with this using my own dried chiles and other spices. Now I make a big batch and freeze smaller portions to make quick meals later.

1 lb ground pork*                                                   
1/3 cup vinegar (i prefer red wine)
1/2 medium onion, diced
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
3 T of ground dried hot/sweet chiles **
1 T sweet paprika
1 T ground cumin
1 T mexican oregano
1- 2 t sea salt (to your liking)
1 t ground cayenne pepper
1 t cocoa powder
1/2 t ground cinnamon

* Pork shoulder is typically used, but I usually use a leaner pork loin and it still tastes great.
** You can use your favorite kind of dried chiles, and grind in a spice grinder or break into small pieces (they will get blended later). The blend from my garden consists of sweet red and green bell peppers, jalapeno, poblano, cayenne and serrano, but pasilla and guajillo (easily found at the grocery) are great too.

Bring vinegar just to a simmer  in a small pan then turn off heat. Add everything but the pork, whisk to mix and steep for 15 to 30 minutes. Melt 2 or 3 ice cubes to cool it down, then puree until smooth in a blender or with an immersion blender. Add to pork (which you can grind with a food processor) and mix by hand. You can cook it immediately but it gets better with time in the refrigerator. I usually keep it in the fridge for 2 or 3 days, then freeze what's leftover in portion-size Ziploc bags.

Special Tidbit
I always brown this in cast iron which really complements the flavors. My favorite way to eat it is on nachos with melted queso quesadilla or cheddar, homemade salsa, mexican crema (or organic sour cream), and lots of cilantro. It makes for a tasty coney too, just mix in some salsa the last few minutes of cooking. Enjoy!

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