Julie asked me to make some Chorizo’s the Spanish spiced sausage and as my beloved she must be obeyed. Complying with her request did present some problems. The first problem is learning the correct pronunciation so that I don’t look like a total idiot, apparently the correct pronunciation is (ch-rz, -s) I hope that’s clear.
The second problem is sourcing a recipe and ingredients; the distinguishing ingredient of Chorizo is Spanish smoked chilli – Pimenton and though available outside of Spain finding a good quality source can still be tricky. The easiest solution is ebay and a quick search produced a tin of ‘El Avion Pimenton Picante Ahumado’ a good quality spicy pimenton.
Next is sorting a recipe, it doesn’t take much internet research to realise that there are nearly as many recipes as there are websites. In any event the web would only represent the tip of all the variations in making Chorizo, many recipes would be unique to individual villages or even families. A key decision is whether to us a cure or not. A cure is seen as being safe as it would prevent nasty bacteria such as botulism from forming as well as having some benefits in preserving the colour of the meat. Personally I think that if care is taken with hygiene and the correct ratio of salt is used the dangers of bacterial infection is very small, the importance of using a chemical cure as opposed to a salt cure is something that is given a modern priority and though desirable in some preserving it is not a universal necessity. The rest of the ingredients are fairly straightforward Pork belly, pimento as already discussed, ordinary paprika mostly for colour, chilli powder for colour and heat, some garlic and a herb such as thyme for an aromatic taste.
So armed with my insights what to do, well after a little think I decided to get into the spirit of things I decided to go a little free hand. To make my Chorizo you need;
- 2 Kilos of pork belly do make sure that you use good quality pork; you don’t want to use just any old rubbish from the supermarket.
- 55 gms salt, this is not free hand the salt must be a minimum of 25 gms per kilo of meat.
- A couple of tablespoons of Paprika
- A couple of tablespoons of pimenton
- A tablespoon of chilli powder
- A dessert spoon of thyme
- 2 Cloves of finely chopped garlic
- A 1.5 metres of beef middle sausage skin cut into 33 – 35 cm lengths
Chill then grind the pork belly using the rough plate on a meat grinder, add all the other ingredients. Mix very well for about 5 minutes, you have to really get your hands in at this point. Prepare your sausage casing as necessary and knot one end. The knotting should be done correctly because the knots have to withstand a fair bit of weight and buffeting under the sausage has dried. The correct method is a doubly tie, first tie one end of the sausage skin about 2 cm from the end with a simple tie, then flick the 2 cm tail over the tie that you have just and tie of this section once more with a reef knot. Do try and get this right or risk your chorizo falling in the wind. Stuff your chorizo with the meat mixture, I just did it by hand because the gape of the sausage skin is so wide.
Leave the chorizo to hang indoors for 24 hours to dry slightly then hang out somewhere dry to cure in the wind.
My chorizo’s were ready in 2 months and had lost just under 40% of their weight
We once you have your perfect and economic Chorizo what to do with it? Well one possibility is a simple Chorizo hash, ideal for a weekend brunch when you fancy a bit of pep. Even better if you have some potato’s from the previous night’s dinner to use up; to make Chorizo hash for two people you will need
- Enough chopped cooked potatoes for 2 people, firm potatoes rather than floury is best but just go with whatever you have got.
- 1 Small onion thinly sliced
- About 50 gms of chorizo finely sliced then cut into thin strips
- A slick of olive oil
- Some parsley
- Salt and Pepper
- 2 fresh eggs
Brown the onion in the olive oil, add the potatoes and fry in the hot oil. As the potatoes begin to colour add the chopped chorizo and parsley and continue cooking for 2 or 3 minutes then stir in some chopped parsley. While you are doing this poach the eggs for 3 minutes, I prefer to poach them at 80C for about 3 – 4 minutes as it keeps the egg whites very tender and the egg compact (or fry the eggs in olive oil if you find that poaching eggs is a bit of a faff). Split the potatoes between two plates and pop the eggs on top.
Delicious worth making with shop bought Chorizo, even better when you use your Chorizo maison.