Once upon a time chorizo came cured and in slices. It was something you had on toast for a tapa and struggled to pronounce.
Then, a few years ago, a new form of chorizo appeared on our shores: a cooking chorizo, more of a sausage than a saucisson. However, this version is still, long after its popularity has spread in restaurant and recipe terms, quite difficult to get hold of and expensive. The best supplier in London is usually Brindisa or a posh deli and you won’t find either of those in N7.
So, when yet another clever person called Sarah, a Californian who knows lots of very interesting things about food, told me to look up Mexican chorizo, I did as I was told. Basically it is ground pork mixed with spices which not only stores well but is a brilliant, cheap and, most importantly, easily homemade version of cooking chorizo. And, of course, I then remembered that I already had a recipe for it in the brilliant River Cottage Everyday. This, I tell you, will be in my fridge every day from now on; it is genius.
It may not look much like the smart, cased sausages that cost you £4.25 for three (you think I’m kidding?) but it tastes just like them and most of the time I cut the cases off anyway. I’ve used it in this, with romanesco, with kale, with eggs and I still can’t believe how easy it is and how I have had this recipe for a couple of years and just got round to making it. So, if you have a penchant for cooking chorizo, but not for its cost, then you will thank me, well HFW, forever for this.
Mexican chorizo (adapted from River Cottage Everyday)
Makes about 500g; keeps for about two weeks in the fridge.
NB The HFW recipe uses 750g pork so I have scaled down the spices added to match the more commonly available 500g packets of pork mince but this is not an exact science, and nor should it be. So feel free to raise or lower the spices according to how you want it to taste, trying to keep the proportions roughly the same.
Cupboard (or things you may already have)
garlic cloves, 1 large or 2 small
finely ground sea salt, 1½ tsps
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
oil, a little for test-frying
pork mince, 500g (or 500g pork shoulder, minced)
sweet smoked paprika, 2 tsp
hot smoked paprika, 1 tsp plus a pinch more
fennel seeds, 1 tsp
cayenne pepper, ¼ tsp
red wine, 35ml
1. Peel, top and tail then finely chop the garlic cloves.
2. Mix all the ingredients, including the garlic but not the oil, together in a large bowl, making sure that the spices are well distributed through the meat. You now need to do two things: chill it for 24 hours before cooking/using to let the flavours develop and, before doing so, check that the seasoning is right as follows.
3. Heat a little oil in a frying pan then break off a small portion of the mixture and fry on both sides until cooked through. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary (remembering that the flavours will develop as the mixture matures). If you want more heat then up the cayenne and black pepper.
4. Now store for about 24 hours before using/cooking to let the flavours develop.
5. Break off and cook as much or as little as you need. It will keep for about 10 days in a fridge.