What is chorizo made of? How do Spanish people use it? We are here to tell you everything you need to know about this tasty Spanish ingredient with the most interesting facts about chorizo.
What is chorizo made of? How do people eat it?
If you read 10 things you need to know about paella you already know how not to use chorizo and how the BBC Good Food’s Chicken and Chorizo Paella makes any Spaniard roll their eyes.
If you want to know how to use it we will navigate through the unspoken rules that can make it very tricky as traditions change even from one region to another.
What is chorizo made of?
If you are delicate with your eating and therefore you do not want us to ruin this tasty ingredient for you we recommend you skip this part.
They make chorizo in a similar way than many other sausages: stuffing ingredients into pig intestines. Normally pork mince and fat, salt, garlic and paprika.
For instance it is Paprika what gives it a peculiar red colour. Depending on the paprika used you can get sweet chorizo (made with sweet paprika and with a softer flavour) or spicy one (if you use spicy paprika).
Besides this, you can also get different varieties of chorizo depending on the meat used. You can either get it from a regular pig or from an Iberian one. You can only find iberian pig in Spain and some areas of Portugal and they resemble a wild boar. Farmers put a lot of care in feeding Iberian pigs, resulting in tastier meat.
Do you have to cook it?
You can find different types depending on how you are going to use it and present it.
In general, you can find chorizo as a cured cold cut (in the same way as serrano ham), and as a sausage to cook.
In some places, they produce it as a spread. This is particularly typical in the Canary Islands with “Chorizo de Teror”.
The most important of the facts about chorizo. How do Spaniards eat it?
1. In soups: Lentil Soup
The mediterranean diet Spaniards follow is full of legumes’ soups for the cold weather. They are rich in vegetables and fats to add some flavour and keep you warm.
Indeed one of the most popular dishes in Spain is the Lentil Soup (“Lentejas” in Spanish), and every Spanish household has its own recipe passed down from generation to generation.
Generally, the recipes are all very similar and the main ingredients are lentils, onions, chorizo, serrano ham bones, vegetables and sweet paprika.
Normally you use serrano ham bones to add flavour to soups, broths and stews.
However, Spaniards struggle to find them abroad. Weirdly enough you can find them very easily in the UK’s Poundland but they sell them as bones for dogs.
2. Cooked on its own: Chorizo with cider
They boil the chorizo in apple cider, resulting in a juicy and full of flavour meat.
This recipe is originally from the north of Spain. It is normally a starter to share and you serve it in a clay casserole.
3. Cold cuts: Charcuterie
Some varieties of chorizo, especially Iberian chorizo, do not need cooking. They serve them in thin slices, charcuterie style.
Generally people eat them with bread or very typically as one part of a cold cuts board along with other cured meats such as Serrano ham, salchichón and cheese.
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