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Chorizo (IPA: [tʃo'riθo] or [tʃoɹ'ɪso]) is a term encompassing several types of pork sausage originating from the Iberian Peninsula and known as chouriço in Portugal, which have in common the use of dried, smoked red peppers (pimentón) to colour them red. It can either be a fresh sausage, in which case it must be cooked, but in Europe it is more frequently a fermented cured sausage, in which case it is usually sliced and eaten without cooking. Spanish chorizo gets its distinctive smokiness and deep red color from pimentón, smoked Spanish paprika. Chorizo can be eaten as is (sliced or in a sandwich), simmered in cider#Spain|sidra (apple cider), barbecued or fried. Like breakfast sausage, it is used as an ingredient of other dishes. It also can be used as a partial replacement for ground beef or pork.
It is made from coarsely chopped fatty pork and usually seasoned with chili pepper|chili and paprika. The mild Spanish paprika used gives this sausage its characteristic flavor. The Chorizo itself can be found as either picante (hot) or dulce (mild). Only the spicy variety incorporates chiles guindillas secas (small dried hot chiles). Some varieties are hung in cold dry places to cure, as happens with jamón serrano (ham). It often contains varietal parts of the animal, such as cheeks, salivary glands or lymph nodes. The Pamplona variety grinds the meat further. In some regions of Spain, such as Extremadura where the pork was for centuries basic for subsistence, a usual dish is huevos con chorizo (Spanish for "eggs with chorizo"). This dish consists, on the one side on fried chorizos (in olive oil or pork fat) accompanied with deep-fried eggs. The frying pan for the eggs must contain at least 3 centimeters (1 1/3 inches) of oil or melted fat, with a high temperature, i.e. when the oil starts to release smoke. The chorizo used for this dish is less cured and cannot be eaten without being cooked. The chorizo is also popular in Basque cuisine.
Portuguese chouriço is made with pork, fat, wine, paprika and salt. It is then stuffed into tripe (natural or artificial) and slowly dried over smoke. It is also used on pizzas and cut into tiny portions and served in a sandwich which gets rolled up.
North America and Caribbean
Better known in the United States (and seldom encountered in Europe) are the Mexican and Caribbean versions. Based on the uncooked Spanish chorizo fresco, these versions are made from fatty pork (however, beef, venison and even kosher versions are known) that is ground rather than chopped and different seasonings are used in addition to chile. Most Mexican chorizo is a deep reddish color, but green chorizo is also made, being popular in the vicinity of Toluca, Mexico. In some supermarkets in the southwestern US, chorizo is sold packaged loosely ground, having an appearance much like ground beef, except for the color, which is closer to orange than pink.
In the US, chorizo is generally known as a food for breakfast, although Mexican restaurants in both the US and Mexico make tacos, burritos, and tortas with cooked chorizo. Chorizo con huevos is a popular breakfast dish in Mexico and areas of Mexican immigration in the United States. It is made by simply putting pieces of chorizo into scrambled eggs as soon as you start cooking them, and mashing the pieces of chorizo with a fork, so the two ingredients blend together during cooking. Or the chorizo may be briefly fried before the eggs are added, as the fat in the skillet will prevent the eggs from sticking. Chorizo con huevos is often used in making breakfast burritos or taquitos. In Mexico, Chorizo is also used to make the popular appetizer chorizo con queso, which is small pieces of chorizo served in or on melted cheese, and eaten with tortilla.
Tapas bars that serve Spanish style chorizo have appeared in some US cities.
Longanizas (Filipino: longganisa) are Philippine chorizos laced with indigenous spices. Longaniza-making has a long tradition in the Philippines, with each region having their own specialty. Among others, Lucbán is known for its garlicky longanizas; Guagua for its salty, almost sour, longanizas. Longganisang hamonado (Spanish: longaniza jamonada), by contrast, is known for its distinctive sweet taste.
Unlike Spanish chorizos, longanizas can also be made of chicken, beef, or even tuna.
In Argentina and other South American countries, chorizo is the name for any coarse meat sausage. Argentine chorizos normally contain pork meat and do not tend to be terribly spicy. Some Argentine chorizo producers occasionally add other types of meat in order to improve the flavor, such as donkey meat; however, consumers are not always aware of this, and may consider such additions cheating. In Chile, a fresh chorizo is known as a longaniza.
In South America, a fresh chorizo, cooked and served in a bread roll, is called a choripán. There is also a Portuguese sausage, also made from pork but with different seasonings, called chouriço.
The growing popularity of tapas bars in the United Kingdom , as well as extensive tourism in Spain by British subjects, has made Spanish style chorizo popular, and it is now becoming an essential item at some delicatessen counters in supermarkets.
There are at least three manufacturers of soy-based chorizo simulations in Southern California. All three products use the same name -- "Soyrizo" -- and have been successful at replicating both the flavor and texture of the actual item.
On July 27, 2006, the chorizo was added to the famed Klement's Sausage Race run at Milwaukee Brewers baseball games. The race is run every Brewers home game after the sixth innings|inning and also includes a racing hot dog, Italian sausage, kielbasa|Polish sausage andbratwurst. The chorizo will become an everyday contender in the race beginning with the 2007 season. However the rookie debut of the Chorizo ended in a disappointing third place finish.