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Go ahead...make your own Chorizo!

Don't you just adore that chile-spiked flavor of fresh chorizo!?  I'm not referring to Spanish Chorizo (although, that's delicious, too), I'm talking about the fresh (as opposed to the cured) Mexican variety.  I'd always meant to make my own before, but it was one of those things I didn't get around to actually doing until a couple of months ago.  I'll never go back!  Aside from the fresh flavor...which you can toy around with and adjust to your own tastes...signature chorizo anyone? can also play around with the amount of fat in the chorizo.  I mean, come on...that's one of the things about buying packaged chorizo that drives you crazy, right!?  You have to drain an insane amount of orange grease before using the cooked product.  Well, it always drove me crazy.  You could get lucky if you buy it from the meat counter at your local Mexican market...but not everybody is fortunate enough to have one of those.  I'm sorry.  So, for the absolute in control, pick your own cut of meat and grind it yourself.  You want some fat in it...I like using pork butt.  You don't even have to have a grinder to do it.  Simply freeze it for a bit to make it easier to work with.  Cut it into 2" chunks and pulse it in your food processor until it's to the point you want it.  But you know what?  If that seems like too much work, you really don't even have to do that.  You can buy ground pork from your local farmer or market and simply use that.  You won't have as much control over the fat content that way, but it definitely simplifies things.  I've done it this way quite a few times since I discovered the magical world of homemade chorizo.  The thing is, it tends to be on the leaner-side of the spectrum this way, actually.  If your pork winds up being "too" lean, you'll just need to adjust for it while cooking.  You can either add fat to the pan or once all of your fat has vanished during the cooking process, add in a bit of water to finish cooking...which is what I usually do.

Homemade Chorizo
adapted from Antojitos
yield: ~1 1/2 lb.

3 chiles de árbol
7 pasilla chiles
1/2 c. onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bay leaf
1/2 c. white vinegar
1 Tbs. kosher salt
2 tsp. cumin, ground
2 tsp. Mexican oregano, dried
1 1/2 tsp. cloves, ground
1 tsp. black pepper, freshly ground
1 lb. ground pork

Layer the chiles, onion, and garlic in a non-reactive bowl or shallow dish.  Add the bay leaf.  Pour in the vinegar and cover the dish tightly with plastic wrap.  Set aside, at room temp, for 1 hour.

Remove and discard the bay leaf.  Transfer the chile-vinegar mixture to a blender and process to form a rough paste.  If it is too thick to move easily through the blender, add ~1 Tbs. of water at a time 'til it moves freely.

In a bowl, mix together the chile paste, salt, cumin, oregano, cloves, & pepper.  Add the pork and mix until the paste and spices are evenly distributed.

Put the raw chorizo in a container with a tight fitting lid and refrigerate for at least 12 hours or up to 5 days.  If keeping longer than 5 days, transfer to freezer bag and freeze for up to 2 months.

*If you want to test for seasoning before letting it age in the fridge, simply cook a little blob in a skillet and taste the cooked product.  Adjust seasoning as necessary.

Cook it up and use it as you would any store-bought chorizo...only you'll enjoy it a million times more! 
Use it in anything from tostadas, to tacos, to tortas, to pambasos, to chori-queso, to chorizo con anybody else getting hungry!?

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