Chorizo sausages originated in Spain and Portugal, and versions of them exist throughout Latin America. Unlike most varieties of Iberian chorizo (which is a cured and dried in a way somewhat similar to salami or pepperoni), Mexican chorizo is actually a raw sausage that must be cooked before eating. In its commercial form, it generally comes in casings that are just broken open and discarded when frying the sausage, so we have dispensed with the casings here. Chorizo is usually employed in relatively small quantities to add a great flavor boost to countless Mexican dishes; see suggestions for use below the recipe.
Although most Mexican chorizo is red in color due to the dried chile pepper and paprika used in the recipe, the area around the city of Toluca (in central Mexico) is famous for the green chorizo it produces, which is made with tomatillos, cilantro, and/or green chiles.
- 2 pounds finely ground pork
- 4 tablespoons chile powder (ground dried chile pepper)
- 2 tablespoons ground paprika
- 2 tablespoons dried oregano
- 1 pinch ground cinnamon
- 1 pinch ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cloves fresh garlic (crushed)
- 1/2 cup vinegar
- In a large bowl, use your hands to mix the ingredients until they are well combined.
- Use immediately in your favorite recipe calling for Mexican chorizo, or refrigerate or freeze the sausage in an airtight container for later use.
To cook: Fry chorizo over medium heat, breaking up the sausage with a fork as you go so that the finished product is “loose” and not chunky. Drain off excess fat; discard or save (like bacon grease often is) for another use.
Uses for Mexican Chorizo
It would be virtually impossible to make a complete list of how chorizo is employed in Mexican cuisine. Some of the most common uses:
- Stirred into scrambled eggs: fry chorizo in a skillet, drain off excess fat, then add lightly beaten eggs and cook and stir until eggs are set. Eat as-is (with tortillas and sliced avocado) or use to fill burritos or tacos.
- Combined with diced, cooked or sauteed potatoes as a filling for tacos, enchiladas, empanadas, or pambazos.
- Mixed with melted cheese to make queso fundido (also called choriqueso); use as a dip or spread on tortillas, tostadas, or bread.
- As a topping for sopes, tostadas, nachos, or other similar antojitos.
- Stirred into refried beans to eat as a side dish or as a spread for molletes or tortas.
- Combined with other ground meats and used to stuff a roasted turkey or other fowl.
- Added to shredded beef to make Tinga.
- Combined with cooked beans, tomatoes, onions, and seasonings to produce frijoles charros.
- As a topping for a very Mexican pizza.
- Used sparingly as a flavorful ingredient in certain hearty cream soups such as bean soup.